Monday, 6 October 2014


by F. de la Motte Fouque

Illustrated by Rosie M M Pitman

 Published by Macmillan and Co. Limited in 1897. Deemed first edition in this format. 204 pages. 20.3cm x14cm Blue cloth bound boards, gilt title on front board and spine, 18 black and white illustrations as well as numerous headers,tailpieces and illustrated initials

Rose Margaret Mclean Pitman (1868-1947) was born in Manchester into the illustrious and industrious, Pitman family. Her uncle was Sir Isaac Pitman (1813 -1897), inventor of Pitman Shorthand and her Father, Henry was also an expert in the skill of writing by sound. The family were proponents of vegetarianism and homeopathy and were anti vaccinations.

Rosie Pitman was active as an illustrator of children's books until about 1904 and exhibited at The Royal Academy. She appears to have married in 1905 to Frederick Heine, a naturalized German but subsequently reverted to her maiden name. Whether this was a brief marriage and perhaps is the reason she faded into obscurity is not known. 'Undine' is probably her finest work and the illustrations are beautiful and Pre Raphaelite in style.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Illustrated London News, Christmas 1913

Sold this beautiful copy of the Illustrated News in March this year. The edition is packed with what amounts to a role call of some of the best illustrators at the time. I am not sure who the cover is by,as it is not signed.

Specially commissioned illustrations for the edition by Kay Nielsen

Title Page by Brunelleschi

 Specially commissioned illustration by Kay Nielsen

Illustration by Glasgow School of Art trained artist Annie French

Illustration by Glasgow School of Art trained artist Annie French

Willy Pogany

 Maxwell Parrish

Monday, 8 September 2014

Rare Talwin Morris Design

Blackie's Commercial Course of Writing and Book Keeping

A Vere Foster Writing Copy-Book

Found recently, this is a rare copy of one of 'Vere Foster's Writing Copy- Books' with covers designed by Talwin Morris. Very difficult to date, but it would be interesting to find out if there are any other booklets designed by Talwin.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Godmother's Stories

New Legends to Old Rhymes

By Mrs F H Hall

Illustrated by Katharine Cameron

Published by David Nutt in 1912

Lovely to find this rarity recently. These images by Katharine Cameron are not often seen,but are absolutely beautiful.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Watching the new sculpture of a large blue cockerel being lifted into place on the spare plinth in Trafalgar Square, reminded me of this lovely book find picked up earlier this year (see photo left). It is only a simple board book but the colours on the front board are still very vivid. Inside, the book is packed with small line drawings, mainly of cats. The inside front board has the following handwritten dedication' This is the first prize that Samuel Brown has ever had at the age of 3 years, 9 months....'. I have reproduced my listing information below. 

 Comical Doings

Published by Ernest Nister, London.

 Not dated but estimate 1890 -1900. 

24 pages. 18.5cm x 13.5cm. Numbered 1534
Printed in Bavaria.
Unrecorded edition on COPAC.
Ernest Nister (1842 - 1909) set up a publishing company in Nuremberg in 1877 and opened a London office in 1888, although the printing of his books continued to be carried out in Nuremberg. He published about 500 illustrated books for children but from 1890 the company produced almost exclusively either toy or moveable books. The publishing company ceased in 1916.

The book contains a selection of unattributed short poems and is illustrated throughout in black and white. Frontispiece is a tipped in colour plate, which is now almost all stuck down and is missing a very small corner. Most of the illustrations are of cats, with one double page being by Louis Wain (1860 - 1939) and a few other illustrations by William Foster (1853 - 1924). Most of the illustrations are unsigned.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Wind in the Pines.

A Celtic Miscellany

Illustrated by Andrew Kay Womrath (1869 -1939), John Duncan (1866 - 1945), Charles Mackie (1862 - 1920) and others

Published by T N Foulis Ltd in 1922.
 48 unpaginated pages. 19.5cm x 26cm

I picked up this book recently, intrigued by the illustrations, which seemed particularly beautiful and at a quick glance seemed quite Beardsley like in style. A bit of research later and I managed to learn that the book had been produced to raise funds for the Outlook Tower (Camera Obscura) in Edinburgh.The Outlook Tower had been purchased by a Patrick Geddes in 1892 to enable visitors to properly view the surrounding landscape. A bit more research told me that Geddes could be properly described as a polymath, being an accomplished botanist, town planner and a pioneer of ecology and sociology. He was born in Dundee and was regarded as a guru to the artist John Duncan, also born in Dundee, who is also represented in this book. Both men were very much at the heart of  the Celtic Revival movement in Scotland. Patrick Geddes was knighted in 1932.
The Wind in the Pines is a lovely hardback book with embossed gilt decoration in an arts and crafts style. The book contains 10 full page black and white illustrations together with headpieces ( some by John Duncan) and ornaments and a selection of poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, Fiona Macleod, Sir Noel Paton, Rosa Mullholland, Earl of Southesk and others.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Katharine Cameron
1875 -1965
The Garden Books by Edward Augustus Bowles (1865 -1954)

Edward Bowles was one of the 20th Century's great gardeners, largely self taught but by 1916 had been awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society and has 42 plants named after him. He wrote three books about his garden; My Garden in Spring, My Garden in Summer (both published in 1914), and My Garden in Autumn and Winter (published in 1915). They have been reprinted many times and are still in print today. The bindings for the first editions were designed by Katharine Cameron (1874 - 1965) and are signed with either her initials 'KC' or as ' K Cameron' on the lower part of the front board. Cameron studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1890 -1893) and was an accomplished artist, illustrator and close friend of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret MacDonald. The binding for ' My Garden in Autumn and Winter' is particularly stunning and I love the use of colour and the trail of petals which is repeated on the spines. I presume that she must have been a friend of Bowles, as she is known for her flower paintings as well as her interest in flowers and it would be lovely to know more. The bindings are probably her lesser known works and as such can be picked up fairly cheaply still. The books are lavishly illustrated throughout by artists of the day (although not by Katharine Cameron).