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Fine Books and Works on Paper

Thursday 30th March 2017: 10:30am BST

Full Lot Details

Potter (Beatrix) The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [one of 250 copies], colour frontispiece and 41 full-page plain illustrations by the author, occasional very minor spotting, light foxing to endpapers, original printed boards with illustrations to upper cover and flat spine, spine darkened and a little creased, light chipping to spine ends, light toning to cover margins, upper cover with minor [?rabbit] nibbling to lower corner and with very small surface flaw, small ink stain to lover cover, still a very good copy, preserved in custom morocco box, [Linder 420 & cf. pp.94-96; Quinby 1], 16mo, [privately printed for the Author by Strangeways & Sons, December 1901].

The first edition of one of the most important and enduring children's books of the 20th century, the present work launched the hugely successful Peter Rabbit series, as well as a wide range of popular associated merchandise.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first conceived of in a picture letter sent to Noel Moore on 4 September 1893. In 1900, inspired in part by the success of Helen Bannerman's The Story of Little Black Sambo, Potter decided to develop the story into a small book with accompanying pictures. Potter had firm ideas on how the book should appear in print and in particular that it should be accompanied by plain line drawings as opposed to more expensive colour ones "because she thinks littler rabbits cannot afford to spend 6 shillings on one book, and would never buy it." Therefore when letters came back from publishers rejecting her work, with many asking for the addition of colour illustrations and alterations to the story, Potter was disinclined to follow their advice. She was however determined to press ahead with publication, at her own expense if needed, and so, in early September 1901, she withdrew her savings from the bank and paid a visit to Strangeways & Sons to commission the first 250 copies of her "bunny book".

Full Lot Details

Potter (Beatrix) The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [one of 250 copies], colour frontispiece and 41 full-page plain illustrations by the author, occasional very minor spotting, light foxing to endpapers, original printed boards with illustrations to upper cover and flat spine, spine darkened and a little creased, light chipping to spine ends, light toning to cover margins, upper cover with minor [?rabbit] nibbling to lower corner and with very small surface flaw, small ink stain to lover cover, still a very good copy, preserved in custom morocco box, [Linder 420 & cf. pp.94-96; Quinby 1], 16mo, [privately printed for the Author by Strangeways & Sons, December 1901].

The first edition of one of the most important and enduring children's books of the 20th century, the present work launched the hugely successful Peter Rabbit series, as well as a wide range of popular associated merchandise.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first conceived of in a picture letter sent to Noel Moore on 4 September 1893. In 1900, inspired in part by the success of Helen Bannerman's The Story of Little Black Sambo, Potter decided to develop the story into a small book with accompanying pictures. Potter had firm ideas on how the book should appear in print and in particular that it should be accompanied by plain line drawings as opposed to more expensive colour ones "because she thinks littler rabbits cannot afford to spend 6 shillings on one book, and would never buy it." Therefore when letters came back from publishers rejecting her work, with many asking for the addition of colour illustrations and alterations to the story, Potter was disinclined to follow their advice. She was however determined to press ahead with publication, at her own expense if needed, and so, in early September 1901, she withdrew her savings from the bank and paid a visit to Strangeways & Sons to commission the first 250 copies of her "bunny book".