Charles Robinson Fairy Tale Art Nouveau 1st 1912 Fine Gilt Binding Dwarfs Bee

Charles Robinson Fairy Tale Art Nouveau 1st 1912 Fine Gilt Binding Dwarfs Bee

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Charles Robinson Fairy Tale Art Nouveau 1st 1912 Fine Gilt Binding Dwarfs Bee:

Bee, the Princess of the Dwarfs
Anatole FranceRetold in English by
Peter WrightIllustrated by
Charles RobinsonFirst Robinson editionPublished by
J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London/E.P. Dutton & Co., New York


Hardback, publisher’s greyish-cream cloth with gilt designs to upper board and spine, top edges gilt, illustrated endpapers (printed in gilt), 20 mounted colour plates (17 with descriptive tissue guards printed in brown, mounted on beige laid paper with brown and blind-stamped borders; 3 smaller in size, mounted on text pages as headpieces, also with brown, blind-stamped borders), two-colour illustrated title page (printed in green and red), numerous b/w vignettes and marginal drawings, x, 128 pages. Approximate size 9 x 6.5 inches (22.8 x 16.5 cm). Printed by Ballantyne & Company, London.This wonderful fairy tale by the Nobel prize-winning author Anatole France tells of two childhood sweethearts – Bee of the Clarides, and George of the White Moor – who are separated in their youth, and grow up in strange, enchanted lands: Bee in the kingdom of the dwarfs, George in the underwater world of the Sylphs. The story was first published in France in 1883, under the title Abeille.Bee is among the loveliest works of Golden Age artist Charles Robinson (1870-1937), one of the most prolific and popular illustrators of the Edwardian period, perhaps best known today for his beautiful gift editions of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (1911) and Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince (1913), as well as his much-reprinted version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (1896).

Published in 1912, with lavish production values typical of the era (as in the gift books of Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen and the like), Robinson’s Bee features exquisite hand-mounted plates with tissue guards, profuse line drawings and decorations, plus a fine, gilt-decorated binding in Art Nouveau style. An enchanting book, in which Robinson’s illustrations perfectly capture the magical atmosphere of Anatole France’s story. Somewhat scarce in the first edition: I can locate only two other copies currently for sale worldwide.Condition
Book complete and intact. Contents very clean overall. Pale foxing to mounts plus adjacent leaves, occasional foxing elsewhere, occasional small, pale smudge, one spread with pale staining, one corner crease, ten cracks between gatherings (with some stitches loosened). Two mounts with nick to foot. Tissue guards with foxing (mostly very light); three with creasing, two with tiny crease to tip, one coming slightly loose, one with tiny hole. Endpapers with usual foxing/offsetting; front free endpaper with trace of bookseller’s pencilled notes (erased, somewhat heavily impressed), reverse with previous owner’s name in ink plus bookseller’s pencilled notes. Foot of page block with shelf-soiling/staining plus a little shelf wear, top with tarnishing to gilt. Binding loose, with slight bend. Boards and spine as shown.

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Binding photographed (above) and scanned (below).

Endpapers printed in gold.

Below: example of the cracks between gatherings.

Below: another of the cracks.

Below: the owner inscription
at the front of the book.


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Charles Robinson Fairy Tale Art Nouveau 1st 1912 Fine Gilt Binding Dwarfs Bee:

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