Through the Looking Glass,

And What Alice Found There

CARROLL, Lewis (DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge)


CARROLL, Lewis (DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge) Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There

Macmillan, 1877.

Fortieth thousand, i.e. a later issue of the first edition as per Williams Madan Green 84. Publisher's special deluxe binding of white textured paper covered boards to imitate vellum, with gilt lettering and vignettes, in the exceptionally rare unprinted original lilac dustwrapper. All edges gilt. Author's presentation copy, inscribed on the half title, "May Forshall from the Author / Dec 3. 1877" Black and white illustrations throughout by John Tenniel. A fine copy with exceptionally clean white covers and bright gilt, just a couple of trivial marks to the edges. Internally fresh with tight hinges. Two pin holes to the front endpaper and a faint mark to the edge of the preliminary pages. Dustwrapper rather worn, with small chips to the spine ends and corners and a larger chip to the corner of the back panel. An exceptional copy.
Included with this book is an original carte-de-visite mounted photograph of Mary Forshall taken by Carroll, numbered by him (2485) in violet ink on the reverse.

Mary Forshall (known as May) was the daughter of the Highgate physician Francis Hyde Forshall, an acquaintance of Charles Dodgson's. Dodgson recalls his first meeting with May in a diary entry of 27 November 1877,
"Dined with Sampson, to meet Dr. Forshall with his sister, etc., and May Forshall, a nice child of 10."
In the 1 December 1877 entry, Dodgson mentions May "came to be photographed" at 11am, an appointment which was repeated two days later, with the result that Carroll took, "5 negatives, of which 2 failed". It was on the second meeting that Dodgson presented one of his newly received copies of Through the Looking Glass, in a specially commissioned presentation binding.
Dodgson took an obsessive interest in the production of all his books and would habitually order small quantities to be bound up in a variety of non-standard styles and hues for his own use, wanting to have a ready supply of special bindings, which differed form the shop bought version, to be used as presentation gifts. Of these styles, the white binding seems to have been the one chosen by Dodgson for his most favoured presentations. It is also a style of binding which has fascinated latter day collectors.
For the publication of The Hunting of The Snark, the year before this book, Dodgson had commissioned an array of coloured bindings including "20 bindings in white vellum and gold". This was changed to parchment style paper or cloth and gold, on economic grounds. Dodgson appears to have placed a similar order for both Alice (then in its sixth edition) and Through the Looking Glass, which were delivered late in 1877. They are now of the utmost scarcity, seldom appearing in commerce. When they do, they are usually in a poor or repaired state, as the fragile white boards were particularly prone to damage. In this case the presence of the original dustwrapper, itself probably a unique occurrence, has meant that the white binding has remained in exceptional condition.

Williams, Madan, Green 84

Stock ID: 35715


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