[DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge], 'Lewis Carroll' (1832-1898) -- [Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: R. Clay, Son, and Taylor for Macmillan and Co., 1865]. 39 copper-plated lead printing blocks electrotyped from the wooden blocks cut by Dalziel Brothers after John Tenniel, for 36 illustrations (of 42, including 3 duplicates). Cf. Williams-Madan-Green-Crutch 42 and 46.
C.L. DODGSON -- [Through the Looking-Glass, and what Alice found there. London: R. Clay, Son, and Taylor for Macmillan and Co., 1871]. 13 copper-plated lead printing blocks electrotyped from the wooden blocks cut by Dalziel Brothers after Tenniel, for 10 illustrations (of 50, including 2 duplicates), and one block bearing the title and text of 'Jabberwocky' in reverse. Cf. Williams-Madan-Green-Crutch 84.
Provenance: R. Clay, Son, and Taylor (printers) -- the estate of Donald William Barber of Bungay, Suffolk (Clay employee, indentured 25 March 1938, retired c. 1986-7).
A REMARKABLE COLLECTION OF FIFTY-TWO ELECTROTYPE BLOCKS AFTER TENNIEL'S CELEBRATED ILLUSTRATIONS. John Tenniel's drawings to illustrate Alice's Adventures in Wonderland had been transferred to woodcut blocks by the well-known London firm of engravers Dalziel Brothers, and electrotype blocks had been prepared from these wooden blocks for the printers. The first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was printed by The Clarendon Press for Macmillan in 1865 using these blocks; however, when Tenniel saw the first copies, he was not pleased with the reproduction of his illustrations, and persuaded Dodgson to recall all the copies that had been printed. Dodgson's diary entry for 20 July 1865 states, 'Called on Macmillan, and showed him Tenniel's letter about the fairy-tale -- he is entirely dissatisfied with the printing of the pictures, and I suppose we shall have to do it all again' (R.L. Green, ed., The Diaries (London: 1953), p.234). R. Clay, Son, and Taylor were chosen to print a new edition (which was to be the second, first published, edition), and on 11 August 1865, Dodgson received the first proof sheet from Clay. Macmillan probably suggested Clay because they were 'expert in [the electrotype block] medium' (J. Moran, Clays of Bungay. Bungay, Suffolk: 1984, p.91), and they could be trusted to print the illustrations to Tenniel's exacting standards. The finished book was issued later in the year, and on 9 November 1865, Dodgson described the finished book thus: 'Received from Macmillan a copy of the new impression of Alice -- very far superior to the old, and in fact a perfect piece of artistic printing' (R.L. Green, ed., op. cit., p.236). The present set of electrotype blocks for 36 of the 42 illustrations was presumably prepared for the book's first printing in June 1865 by The Clarendon Press, and were then transferred to Clay for use in the first published edition (with letterpress text and electrotype illustrations). It is certainly unlikely that they were employed for the sixth edition of October 1868 (or subsequent editions), which were printed from electrotype plates of the text and illustrations. In 1876, Clay bought Charles Child of Bungay's printing business, to supplement the capacity of their London presses in Bread Street Hill, and the present electrotype blocks were taken there at some point after this date (cf. Moran op. cit. p.76). (52)