The Tale of Peter Rabbit

POTTER, Beatrix

THE VERY RARE PRIVATELY PRINTED PETER RABBIT

POTTER, Beatrix The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Privately Printed for the Author, 1901.

First edition, first issue. 12mo. One of the initial 250 copies published privately for the author. Original fawn paper covered boards lettered in black, with a flat spine (as issued). Colour frontispiece and 41 woodblock engravings from line drawings by the author. A very good copy, with a light abrasion to the lower edge of the upper cover and a neat repair to the base of the spine. The rear cover shows a light stain to the top, overall an attractive clean copy. Internally, very clean with occasional looseness between sections.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit all began with a letter Potter sent to cheer up Noel Moore, the five year old son of her former governess, who was recovering from a bout of scarlet fever in 1893.
"I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits, whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter", began Potter. As was her wont, she illustrated her letter with drawings of the characters.
In 1900 Potter borrowed back the letter to rework the narrative into a little book she could sell to a publisher. She sent her manuscript to at least six publishers, including Warne, all of whom refused it seeking something grander with colour illustrations. Undeterred, Potter made the decision to publish the book herself whilst continuing the search for a publisher who would issue the book in accordance with her wishes. By December 190, 250 copies of her book were to be printed by the London firm of Strangeways, which she offered for sale at 1s 2d. Within two weeks Potter had sold out and, flushed with success, ordered another 200 copies which contained the same illustrations, but with a few textual modifications, in a sturdier binding with a rounded, rather than flat, spine.
In the meantime Frederick Warne had been persuaded to reconsider and agreed to publish the book, subject to producing all the illustrations in colour. In order to achieve this, eleven of the illustrations were removed and the text was modified again. Some of the text which was removed for the Warne edition was later used in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904).
Success was instant: within a year Warne had sold nearly 50,000 copies and has gone on to sell in excess of 40 million copies world wide.
Copies of Potter's original, privately printed edition, are now very seldom encountered due to the very limited print run and the fragility of production.

Stock ID: 36160

£35,000.00

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