5 December 2017
POTTER, Beatrix (1866-1943). The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London: Privately printed, 1901.
A superb copy of the privately printed first edition of Beatrix Potter's first book; one of the finest copies to come to auction. One of only 250 copies of the first issue. "[Potter] sent the manuscript to at least six publishers without success. Finally, in 1901, she decided to have the book privately printed, at her own expense. [...] The books were ready on 16 December and Miss Potter began giving them away to selected friends and relatives and selling them to others at one shilling two pence each. By this time, however, Beatrix Potter's career had already been given its first impetus, for the publisher Frederick Warne & Co. had agreed to accept the book for publication in a regular trade edition. But in February 1902, before the trade edition was ready, Miss Potter ordered another 200 copies to be printed of her private edition; this second issue had a rather better binding, with rounded back and darker printed boards. In October 1902 the Warne commercial edition was published. The first printing of 6000 copies was sold out before publication, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been in print ever since. [...] It is perhaps worth a smile today to learn that on 18 December 1901, in a letter to Frederick Warne & Co., she wrote: ‘I am aware that these little books don’t last long, even if they are a success.’" The present copy is from the first issue, with a flat spine. Gottlieb 220; Quinby 1.
12mo (130 x 100mm). Color frontispiece, monochrome illustrations throughout. Original light grey pictorial boards with a flat spine; custom chemise and quarter morocco slipcase.
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