Ethel Jackson Morris Fairy Book 1st Signed Deco Australian Ida Rentoul Outhwaite For Sale
The White Butterfly
and Other Fairy Tales
Written and illustrated by
Ethel Jackson Morris
Special autograph edition,
limited to 250 copies signed by the artist
* Only copy currently available worldwide *
C.J. DeGaris Publishing House, Melbourne
Autograph edition, limited to 250 copies signed by the artist.
This copy No. 8.
The Australian fairy artist Ethel Jackson Morris (1891-1985) was active in Melbourne in the early decades of the 20th century, predominantly following in the tradition of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, to whose work her own bears a strong resemblance. Her career as an illustrator was short-lived: after marrying in 1930 she retreated from the art world.
The Australian book dealers Hordern House, in their catalogue Women in Australia and the Pacific (March 2011), write of Ethel Jackson Morris that she “was part of the first group of Australian women artists to successfully pursue a professional career. This new women’s movement in the arts was centred in Melbourne at the beginning of the twentieth century: Ethel Jackson Morris worked at the National Gallery School alongside artists such as Margaret Preston and Hilda Rix Nicholas. Some of these pioneering women artists continued to work in mainstream areas while others – the majority – chose alternative means of artistic expression such as printmaking or book illustration. Jackson Morris belonged to this latter group, and successfully established herself in the ‘Elves and Fairies’ school of illustration … ‘[Her] career has remained unchronicled since the 1920s and most of her output remained stored away for more than 50 years, unseen and lost to posterity...’ (A Golden Age: Visions of Fantasy, p. 56). Jackson Morris’ artistic life can be tracked … from Melbourne to London (where she studied at the Royal College of Art), her return to Australia by 1923, and her subsequent life in Sydney. She exhibited just once in Sydney, with the Society of Artists in 1929. Marrying soon after that, she seems then to have retreated from her earlier life, and an artistic career full of promise that had seen her paintings rise from three guineas to sixteen guineas in a matter of years. In fact, her success as a selling artist rivalled that of the better-known illustrator, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.”
Ethel Jackson Morris’s published output appears to have been small: WorldCat lists only two books by her – Among the Fairies (1909) and The White Butterfly (1921) – together with a catalogue from an exhibition of her work in Melbourne, in 1921.
The White Butterfly was published in both a trade edition and a signed limited edition (as here). Both editions are scarce: I can locate no other copy of the limited edition currently for sale online (and only one copy of the trade edition).
A real rarity, and a delightful example of Australian fairy art.
The White Butterfly; The Glass Bottle; The Magic Wood; The Red Daisy; The Three Silver Leaves; Princess May-blossom, or The Good Little Sister; Blue-Eye; and The Queen of Flowers.
Book complete and intact. Contents clean overall. Occasional small mark or smudge, a little corner bumping, one light corner crease, one spread with small piece of paper pulled away at head of gutter, usual offsetting from plates and drawings, foxing intermittently throughout (mostly light), two text pages with slight impression of doodling (hardly noticeable), one also with very faint trace of colouring pencils (again hardly noticeable). Plates with foxing to reverse; four with a little original glue staining, a few plates with tiny surface chips to corners or edges, three (including frontispiece) with creasing along glued edge where previously folded back, two lightly re-glued where starting to come loose. Monochrome plates with a little foxing, plus localized darkening and offsetting (see scans). Endpapers with usual tanning/offsetting and foxing, a little soiling; front free endpaper with inscription “J.O. from E.J.M.” – suggesting perhaps a gift from the artist; hinges with a few small tears; rear free endpaper with impression of doodling plus corner creasing; rear pastedown with small water-mark to upper corner. Edges of page block with foxing, darkening, a little scratching. Binding fairly tight. Boards and spine as shown, including a little bubbling to cloth, bumping to corners and edges; lower board with scratches plus small piece of stuck paper; head and foot of spine with fraying and wear, slight loss to cloth.
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Binding photographed (above) and scanned (below).
Below: front and rear endpapers,
including “E.J.M.” notation (see description).
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