Friday, May 20, 2016

Collectable Illustrations for Children's Books

In 1863, publishers Adam and Charles Black sold Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels in five editions – ‘The People’s Illustrated Edition’ in 5 volumes with 100 wood engraving illustrations and one prited from a steel printing-plate; ‘The Cabinet Edition’ in 25 volumes with one wood and one steel engraving in each volume; ‘The ‘1847’ Edition’ in 48 volumes in large type with 96 illustrations (each novel in two volumes for ease of use); ‘The New Illustrated Edition’ in 48 volumes printed in a new type-font with 1600 illustrations drawn by a range of artist members of the Royal Academy …and ‘The Library Edition’ bound in extra-gilt cloth in 25 volumes with 204 engravings by the most eminent artists of the time. They are advertised in this small Almanac (about half the size of a postcard) created and distributed by the publisher, along with description of other books by Scott with multiple editions:


With what delectation would prospective purchasers of Sir Walter’s books have surveyed the choices available! How eagerly they must have anticipated reading pleasure when they placed their order. 

The engravings for the volumes were printed on quality paper and with generous margins and sold separately . Would purchasers keep them safely hidden away, frame them or engage a hand-bookbinder to add them into the text and create volumes with sumptuous covers?



Mini-Posters of Quentin Blake's illustrations of Matilda are currently available for $12 Australian - or less in special deals.

I wonder if the ability to collect affordable copies of illustrations from a wide range of children's books would encourage book sales, reading and creativity? 

Peter Taylor 

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