London: Bickers & Son, 1871.
Faithfully Reprinted from the Rare Newcastle Edition published by T. Saint in 1784. Hardcover. This 1871 collection boasts a splendid binding without and superb illustrations within that are truly worthy of the age-old fables it holds. Each of its 142 fables features its own wood engraving capturing the essence of the tale by the great artist and writer of natural history Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), author of A History of British Birds (the book Jane Eyre is reading in the first pages of the Charlotte Bronte classic). Bewick's illustrations of Aesop's fables appear to have been the artist's passion project, as they span his entire creative career. This 1871 edition is divided into three parts: the first being 48 fables from Robert Dodsley's 1761 edition of The Select Fables of Esop, each prefaced by a short prose moral; the second part, entitled "Fables with Reflections in Prose and Verse," collects 68 fables, each followed by a prose and a verse moral as well as a reflection; and the third part, entitled "Fables in Verse," collects 26 fables in poem-form from various sources. Adding to this edition's many charms are an illustrated preface by Edwin Pearson, which traces the development of Bewick's wood engravings, particularly but not limited to those of fables, throughout his career, and a biography of Aesop and essay on the fable form by Oliver Goldsmith. Appearing almost as if it emerged from a fable itself, this sublimely bound and sumptuously illustrated 1871 collection of fables--those narrative distillations of wisdom that have endured the centuries--is sure to delight, entertain, and educate all those who turn its gilt-edged pages for years to come.
7 1/2" X 5 1/4". xl, 312pp, plus 4pp ads. Bound in full burgundy cloth over bevelled boards, with decorative borders in gilt, black, and turquoise and title in gilt to upper board and spine, and featuring Bewick's illustration for the fable "The Lion and an Ass" in gilt to upper board. Mild edgewear to binding, with rubbing to extremities, very small neat tear to upper board at edge of floral border, small neat tears to head and tail of spine, and small tears to cloth at corners. All edges gilt. Hinges a touch tender, front hinge reinforced with binder's glue, with spine visible at some pages and some gatherings proud. Foxing to pages throughout, mostly concentrated at prelminary and concluding pages and endpapers. Binding remains sound. Pages are otherwise clean and unmarked. Illustrated throughout in frontispiece, 142 wood engravings, and numerous other vignettes, headpieces, and tailpieces. Good. Item #7563