Richard Doyle’s Masterpiece
DOYLE, Richard. In Fairyland. A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World. With a Poem, by William Allingham. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, & Dyer , 1870 [i.e., 1869].
First edition, published at Christmas 1869 and post-dated 1870. Folio (14 7/8 x 10 3/4 inches; 377 x 274 mm.). [8], 31, [1, blank] pp. Frontispiece and fifteen plates, engraved on wood and printed in color by Edmund Evans.

Original green morocco-grain cloth decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt on front cover and decoratively stamped in gilt on spine. Back cover ruled in blind. All edges gilt. Some very minor marginal soiling to a few leaves, but the plates are totally free from the foxing found in almost all copies. A wonderful example of what is considered Richard Doyle’s masterpiece.

“It is generally felt that Richard Doyle rose to his greatest heights with the graceful clusters of humanized and sentimentalized but endearing little elves he created for In Fairyland. In the case of this book the pictures preceded the text, a situation not uncommon in the history of illustrated children’s books. The Irish poet William Allingham wrote verses to accompany Doyle’s colorful fantasies. Edmund Evans produced the colored engravings; they are among the very finest examples of his work. Doyle’s illustrations for In Fairyland were used again, in 1884, to illustrate Princess Nobody, an original fairy tale for children by Andrew Lang” (Morgan Library, Early Children’s Books).

Engen, Doyle, p. 197. Morgan Library, Early Children’s Books, 168. Muir, Victorian Illustrated Books, p. 102. Osborne Collection II, p. 619. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 146.

HBS # 67911 $3,000