Comical Customers

POTTER, Beatrix

POTTER, Beatrix Comical Customers

Ernest Nister, 1896.

First edition. Original cloth backed glazed pictorial boards. Tipped in chromolithograph frontispiece and numerous black and white illustrations throughout by various artists including Beatrix Potter, Louis Wain, and W. Foster. The most significant contribution is nine line drawings by Beatrix Potter (signed HBP) to accompany a verse entitled "A frog he would a fishing go". There is also a full page black and white image after a pen and gouache drawing by Potter, to accompany "The Story of Violante and the Silver Sixpence". A very good copy, with some wear to the boards and rubbing to the corners. One page with a torn corner.

These illustrations, which had their genesis in a picture letter to Eric Moore of September 1893, were offered (and after some horse trading, sold) to Nister in 1894. Potter had hoped Nister would publish them as the contents of a small booklet, but Robert Mack of Nister had replied that, "people do not want frogs now. The only way we could us it would be as a double page in our 'Annual'...". The illustrations duly appeared occupying three pages accompanying the verse "A Frog he would a fishing go", by another author.
In due course Potter bought back the copyright (and blocks) for the illustrations and developed them to be published in 1906 as The Tale of Jeremy Fisher.
The separate full page image depicts two young kittens looking in a shop window being watched by the shop keeper, knitting in the doorway, over which is the sign, "Squintina Tabby / Licensed to sell / Tea". The image carries the caption "What shall we Buy?". Leslie Linder's The History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter shows a rough sketch of the old tabby (facing p.179), noting that it was "for a picture sold to Ernest Nister". An original version of this image was sold as part of the property of Bertram Potter at Sotheby's July 2008.
Comical Customers is now extremely scarce.

Cotson (Potter) 562;

Stock ID: 31253

£1,250.00

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