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The Fairy Book

This book is the same dimensions as Nelson's annuals The Chummy Book and The Jolly Book. The letter commissioning the design for the cover is missing from the Nelson archive, but Edwin jack wrote to Blampied on 22rd October 1919:

We like the design for the cover of THE FAIRY BOOK . It ought to make a very striking wrapper. We do not however care for your design for the back and think you could improve upon this. Will you kindly let us see another sketch for the back? Meantime I am sending you the side to finish. Please keep out the words Mrs Craik altogether.

This indicates three things: that the book shown below is not the first edition as it doesn't have an illustration on the back; that the book was issued in a wrapper or dust-jacket; and that it was an update of a much older book of stories rewritten for children by Mrs. [Dinah Maria Mulock] Craik (1826-1887).

Although Blampied had provided the finished drawing for The Fairy Book by November 1919, this title doesn't seem to have been published until 1922, or at least that's the date indicated by the copy in the British Library. I shall have to go and see the copy when the Library opens again. The book was re-issued in the late 1930s.

First edition

Bibliography code: NEL-22.1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons

Series: Crest Series

Year: [1922]

Format: 8vo

Pages: 160

Binding: first edition not seen; later edition has printed boards backed with cream cloth; title, small design of Jack climbing bean stalk and publisher on spine; plain rear boards

Size: 260 x 202 mm

Cover: signed Blam [Edmund Blampied] lower left

Dust jacket: may have been issued with one, but not seen

Internal illustrations: none by Blampied; six colour plates by Mabel Lucy Attwell and Honor C Appleton and many unsigned line drawings

Source of illustration: original cover design

Price: unknown

Printing history: Reissued in 1939 in the Ensign Series (Bodleian copy accession date May 22 1939)

Printed by: Printed in Great Britain at the Press of the Publishers

Notes: My copy is in the Crest Series but has an inscription dated 1941. There is no illustration on the rear cover.

A bookseller is advertising a copy with the same cover but only two colour plates. It could be a smaller edition, or the four other plates might have been removed.

Image of dust jacket

Cover of book (click to enlarge)