The Finest and Most Delightful Examples of Whimsical Kelliegram Pictorial Bindings We've Ever Seen


(London: Macmillan and Co., 1872). 185 x 122 mm. (7 1/4 x 4 3/4"). 6 p.l., 192 pp.; 6 p.l., 224 pp. Two separately published volumes. First work: Sixth Edition, "Thirty-Seventh Thousand"; Second work: First Edition, "Thirty-Second Thousand" (i.e., a later issue).

WHIMSICAL INLAID PICTORIAL BINDINGS BY KELLIEGRAM (stamp-signed on rear turn-ins), "Alice" in hunter green crushed morocco, upper cover with large central inlay of the Mad Hatter in various colors of morocco within an ogival gilt frame, corners with gilt roundels inlaid with images of other characters, among them the Mock Turtle and the Dodo; lower cover with central inlay of the White Rabbit, and inlays at corners including the Cheshire Cat and the Dormouse; raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with centerpiece representing the four playing card suits, gilt titling, turn-ins with gilt-ruled borders, endpapers painted saffron yellow; "Looking-Glass" in dark brown crushed morocco, upper cover with central inlay of a (smiling!) Humpty Dumpty teetering on a blind-tooled wall, cornerpiece inlays including the Red and White Queens; lower cover with central inlay of the walrus attired in country tweeds, corner inlays including Tweedledee and Tweedledum; raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with chess-piece design, gilt titling, turn-ins with multiple gilt rules and leafy sprays at corners, ochre silk endleaves, original red cloth covers and backstrip bound in at rear; all edges of both volumes gilt. Both volumes housed together in a custom dark green crushed morocco solander box, the back designed to look like two volumes with raised bands and gilt lettering. With 92 illustrations in the text (42 in "Alice," 50 in "Looking-Glass") by John Tenniel (including frontispieces). Alice with faded ownership inscription dated 1881 on preliminary leaf. Williams & Madan 46d, 84. Alice with occasional small stains or thumbing to text (mostly marginal, never serious), but very good internally; "Looking-Glass" clean and fresh internally; BOTH BINDINGS IN SPARKLING CONDITION, virtually unchanged since the day they left the bindery.

These charming, vigorously inlaid bindings are the finest and most delightful examples of whimsical Kelliegram pictorial bindings we've ever seen, and they are perfect for the two well-loved works in children's literature offered here. Originally written to amuse the child of Dodgson's Oxford colleague, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass" have been continuously reprinted for well over a century, and have inspired any number of works in other media. Intricate, inventive, absorbing, humorous, and revolutionary, the works differed by miles from most children's literature of the period, which was meant first and last to inculcate. Dodgson's clever tales were brilliantly illustrated by John Tenniel (1820-1914), the principal cartoonist for "Punch Magazine," and the Kelliegram Bindery used his instantly recognizable characters to decorate our bindings. The firm of Kelly & Sons had one of the longest histories in the London binding trade, having been founded in 1770 by John Kellie, as the name was then spelled. The firm was continued by successive members of the family into the 1930s. William Henry Kelly helped to develop the company in the first half of the 19th century, and he was succeeded by William Henry Kelly, Jr., then Henry Kelly, and finally Hubert Kelly, who took control in 1892. Under Hubert's direction, the bindery became known for its fanciful pictorial bindings, of which our set is a notable example. The contents here are in good order, especially given the work's juvenile audience, and the bindings are in perfect condition.

Price: $19,500.00