Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor

PEAKE, Mervyn

PEAKE'S FIRST BOOK, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING

PEAKE, Mervyn Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor

Country Life, 1939.

First edition. 4to. Original cloth backed paper covered boards, illustrated in colour by Peake. In the original pictorial dustwrapper with illustrations mirroring those of the boards. With a large detailed pencil drawing by Peake of Slaughterboard on the front endpaper, and inscribed by Peake's father (Doc) to Peake's mother (Elizabeth). Further signed by Peake and dated 1940. Dustwrapper and boards illustrated in colour by Peake, with line drawings throughout. A near fine copy in a very good dustwrapper which has chips from head and tail of the spine, internally reinforced, and a couple of short closed tears. A generally well preserved copy of a very uncommon book.

Peake's first book was published in October 1939. On 3 October, Peake, having heard that his mother had had a stroke, went to his parents' Sussex house, from where he wrote to his friend Gordon Smith,
"I am writing to tell you about Mother, who I am afraid has not long to live now, Maeve [Peake's wife] came up from Stratford and she and I are now with Doc. down here..." (Gordon Smith - Mervyn Peake A Personal Memoir).
Peake's mother died on the 8th of October. It is possible that Peake took down a copy of his just printed first book to show his parents, which was to become this poignant presentation copy from father and son.
The literary press were not receptive to the book: "quite unsuitable for sensitive children" (Punch) and sales of the book were slow. The publisher's were advertising remaindered copies for 2/6 less than a year later, shortly after which all remaining copies were destroyed in a warehouse fire caused by the Luftwaffe's bombing of London.
Now one of the most sought after modern illustrated books, the first edition is very rare, and this is the only significant association copy, or copy with a drawing that we have encountered.

Winnington A1a

Stock ID: 24188

£12,500.00

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