AntiqueBook header MysticsArt 1500 bw

covers of 19 various unrelated books from the 19th century

ONCE UPON A TIME, we made things with care, with crafts­man­ship, even a touch of art. The number of items so made that were used in everyday life would be a long list in­deed, but here I am only going to ad­dress the front covers of old books. Re­ally old books.

When we see and hold books like this today, it’s not un­usual to wonder why they went to so much ef­fort to pro­duce some­thing so few people would read. Even as simple a book as a children’s grade-school primer was made with more care than all but the finest hand-crafted books of today.

Below find covers for 19 books from the 19th cen­tury, which when I got my first li­brary card, didn’t seem all that far away! A few of the ti­tles below are known well, but most of them are be­yond ob­scure. Each book is a hard­cover, cloth­bound edi­tions.

The ti­tles are listed chrono­log­i­cally by year of pub­li­ca­tion. I tried to pro­vide a few words of back­ground on each book or au­thor.

I also looked for sites that had the title in a flip-book format so that in­ter­ested readers could leaf through the title like it was a “real book” in­stead of scrolling through a slow-loading PDF file.

The pur­pose of this ar­ticle is to en­ter­tain — I saw these covers, liked them, and thought that others would also enjoy seeing them. In fact, if you re­ally like these covers and are in search of a hobby to 1) fill the void in your soul or 2) re­place all the time you spend on your smart­phone, be the first on your block to col­lect old books just for their covers!

•  It’s fun! (It gets you out of the house and going to yard sales and es­tate sales at­tending Friends of the Li­brary book sales, and vis­iting old book stores, Sal­va­tion Armies, and an­tique shops.)

•  It ed­u­ca­tional! (You don’t have to read much more than the pub­lishing in­for­ma­tion and the pref­aces and leaf through the book checking for il­lus­tra­tions to start learning bit and pieces of data with which to amaze your friends at of­fice Christmas par­ties.)

•  It’s af­ford­able! (Most used book shops have little use for ob­scure pre-WWI ti­tles ex­cept filing them in their “col­lec­tables” cat­e­gory and hoping some­body no­tices them.)

So, here are nine­teen in­ter­esting and at­trac­tive covers from some fa­mous and some not-so-famous books of the 19th cen­tury. The title of this ar­ticle refers to the fact that the con­tents of these books have no bearing on the quality of their covers and why they were se­lected.

1820

AntiqueBook FriedrichChristianAccum TreatiseOnAdulterationOfFood 1822

Friedrich Chris­tian Accum
A Trea­tise on Adul­ter­ation of Food and Culi­nary Poi­sons
Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green
London, 1820

Non-fiction

The full title of Mr. Ac­cum’s book on the title page of the second edi­tion is “A Trea­tise on Adul­ter­ation of Food, and Culi­nary Poi­sons, Ex­hibiting the Fraud­u­lent So­phis­ti­ca­tions of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spir­i­tuous Liquors, Tea, Oil, Pickles, and Other Ar­ti­cles Em­ployed in Do­mestic Economy. And Methods of De­tecting Them.”

“This ground­breaking work marked the be­gin­ning of an aware­ness of the need for food safety over­sight. Al­though pop­ular, this book threat­ened es­tab­lished prac­tices within the food pro­cessing in­dustry and it earned the au­thor many en­e­mies among London food man­u­fac­turers. A year after pub­li­ca­tion, Accum left Eng­land after a law­suit was brought against him.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a rather ugly cover—but I cer­tainly can see how it would be very at­trac­tive to some book col­lec­tors.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1855

AntiqueBook JonathanSwift Voyages de Gulliver dans des contrées lointaine 1855

Jonathan Swift
Voy­ages de Gul­liver dans des Con­trées Loin­taines
De­larue
Paris, 1855

Fic­tion

“The 19th cen­tury was a time of great change in Eu­ro­pean book­binding. So­cial and ed­u­ca­tional re­form of the pre­vious cen­tury had led to in­creased levels of lit­eracy which re­sulted in a greater de­mand for books from a wider public. Vellum and leather had been the tra­di­tional binding ma­te­rials but an­imal skins were costly. Binders needed a cov­ering that was cheaper, more widely avail­able and quick to pro­duce.

“One so­lu­tion was cloth and the cover of this French edi­tion of Gulliver’s Travels demon­strates just how suit­able it was. After stiff­ening the cloth with starch, [both] gold tooling and col­ored stamps sim­ilar to those used on leather covers could be ap­plied. Cheaper binding ma­te­rials, there­fore, didn’t mean that dec­o­ra­tion had to be com­pro­mised.” (Vic­toria & Al­bert Mu­seum)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is an eye-catching de­sign, pri­marily be­cause the good art­work jumps out of the black back­ground. I would have liked this even more if the de­signer had fig­ured out a clever way to place the title some­where in all that black.

1957

AntiqueBook GeorgeEliot ScenesOfClericalLife 1857

George Eliot
Scenes of Cler­ical Life
William Black­wood‎ & Sons
Ed­in­burgh, 1857

Fic­tion

Scenes of Cler­ical Life col­lects three sto­ries by Mary Anne Evans that had been pub­lished anony­mously in Black­wood’s Ed­in­burgh Mag­a­zine. It was her first fic­tion book for which she used the pseu­donym, George Eliot.

“The sto­ries take place in and around the fic­tional town of Milby in the Eng­lish Mid­lands. Eliot ex­am­ines the ef­fects of re­li­gious re­form and the ten­sion be­tween the Es­tab­lished and the Dis­senting Churches on the cler­gymen and their con­gre­ga­tions, and draws at­ten­tion to var­ious so­cial is­sues, such as poverty, al­co­holism, and do­mestic vi­o­lence.” (Wikipedia)

Scene of Cler­ical Life was im­me­di­ately rec­og­nized, in the words of Sat­urday Re­view, as ‘the pro­duc­tion of a pe­cu­liar and re­mark­able writer’. The first readers, in­cluding Dickens and Thack­eray, were struck by its hu­morous irony, the truth­ful­ness of its pre­sen­ta­tion of the lives of or­di­nary men and women, and its com­pas­sionate ac­cep­tance of human weak­ness.” (Goodreads)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is just a so-so cover. It’s too damn busy and I got sleepy counting all those sheep. (yes, it’s a lame pun but it had to be said.)

1869

AntiqueBook HenryERoscoe SpectrumAnalysis 1869

Henry E. Roscoe
Spec­trum Analysis – Six Lec­tures, De­liv­ered in 1868, be­fore the So­ciety of Apothe­caries of London
MacMillan & Com­pany
London, 1869

Non-fiction

“Sir Henry En­field Roscoe was a British chemist noted for early work on vana­dium and for pho­to­chem­ical studies. Roscoe’s sci­en­tific work in­cludes a mem­o­rable se­ries of re­searches car­ried out with Robert Bunsen be­tween 1855 and 1862, in which they laid the foun­da­tions of com­par­a­tive pho­to­chem­istry.

In 1864, they car­ried out what is re­puted to be the first flash­light pho­tog­raphy, using mag­ne­sium as a light source. Roscoe’s pub­li­ca­tions in­clude sev­eral el­e­men­tary books on chem­istry that had a wide cir­cu­la­tion and were trans­lated into many for­eign lan­guages.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is an at­trac­tive cover be­cause I like the overall layout and de­sign. The big, bullet-like shape re­minds me of the art­work from the ear­liest years of sci­ence fic­tion, no­tably the “space ship” shot from a cannon in Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon.

1871

AntiqueBook FredericIngham TenTimesOneIsTen 1871

Col. Fred­eric In­gham
Ten Times One Is Ten – A Pos­sible Ref­or­ma­tion
Roberts Brothers
Boston, 1871

Fic­tion

Fred­eric In­gham is a pseu­donym for Ed­ward Everett Hale, best known for the Civil War short story “The Man Without a Country,” which was first pub­lished in The At­lantic in De­cember 1863. 

“It is the story of Amer­ican Army lieu­tenant Philip Nolan, who re­nounces his country during a trial for treason and is con­se­quently sen­tenced to spend the rest of his days at sea without so much as a word of news about the United States. Though the story is set in the early 19th cen­tury, it is an al­le­gory about the up­heaval of the Amer­ican Civil War and was meant to pro­mote the Union cause.” (Wikipedia)

The nar­rator of the story is one Fred­eric In­gham, who was pre­sented in such a manner that he took on a life of his own with readers, a life that Hale fol­lowed by writing other sto­ries using In­gham as a pseu­donym and al­ter­na­tive per­son­ality for him­self. Ten Times One Is Ten is cred­ited to In­gham but Hale clearly makes him­self known as the ac­tual au­thor in the book’s Preface.

Com­ment: For my taste, this is an in­ter­esting cover only in­sofar as that it is not what it ap­pears to be—a book on basic math­e­matics. I didn’t even con­sider it for this ar­ticle at first be­cause I thought is a grade school primer!

Note that the title on the cover reads “Ten Times One Equals Ten” but on the title page it is “Ten Times One Is Ten.” I’ll bet anyone a buck-three-eighty that the cover was de­signed by someone who did not read the text (a far more common event in pub­lishing than you might think).

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1873

AntiqueBook JulesVerne FromTheEarthToTheMoon 1873

Jules Verne
From the Earth to the Moon
Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle
London, 1873

Fic­tion

“Jules Gabriel Verne was a French au­thor who pi­o­neered the genre of science-fiction. His 1865 tale of a trip to the moon is great fun, even if bits of it now seem, in ret­ro­spect, a little strange: the rocket ship gets shot out of a cannon? To the moon? Good­ness!

“But in other ways, it’s full of eerie bits of busi­ness that turned out to be very near re­ality: Verne’s cannon was named the Columbiad, the Apollo 11 com­mand module was named Co­lumbia. Apollo 11 had a three-person crew, just as Verne’s did. And both blasted off from Florida! (GoodReads)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is one of the most at­trac­tive covers in this article—but I’ve been a sucker for fan­tasy in all its forms since child­hood. The yellow-and-red-against-black is eye-catching and evokes flowing lava, which given that the drawing looks more like a vol­cano than a space­ship launching is ap­pro­priate.

When Verne and shortly after, H. G. Wells, were writing these sto­ries, con­tem­po­rary artists had no ex­pe­ri­ence with this type of lit­er­a­ture and the vi­sion it re­quired. Con­se­quently, most of the art that ac­com­pa­nied it was sci­en­tif­i­cally and tech­no­log­i­cally crude but in a manner that is easy to see as charming 150 years later.

See Henry E. Roscoe’s Spec­trum Analysis in 1869 above.

1877

AntiqueBook CordeliaHarrisTurner FloralKingdom 1877

Cordelia Harris Turner
The Floral Kingdom – Its His­tory, Sen­ti­ment, and Po­etry
Moses Warren
Chicago, 1877

Non-fiction

Ac­cording to its title page, The Floral Kingdom is “A dic­tio­nary of more than three hun­dred plants, with the genera and fam­i­lies to which they be­long, and the lan­guage of each il­lus­trated with ap­pro­priate gems to po­etry. By Mrs. Cordelia Harris Turner. With an au­to­graph letter and in­tro­duc­tory poem by William Cullen Bryant. And a prac­tical trea­tise for am­a­teurs on the cul­ti­va­tion and analysis of plants.”

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a gor­geous cover, if only for the black against the royal (?) blue back­drop. Rather than a book on the genera and fam­i­lies of plants, this looks like an in­vi­ta­tion to enter an en­chanted garden where one might meet an elf, fairy, or faun.

Ini­tially, I thought the border over-busy and un­nec­es­sary. So I “erased” it using the GNU Image Ma­nip­u­la­tion Pro­gram (GIMP), leaving the pri­mary image sur­rounded by a broad blue border. I was wrong, as the plainer cover was far less ef­fec­tive and evoca­tive without the busy border!

1878

AntiqueBook MontagueBrowne PracticalTaxidermy 1878

Mon­tagu Browne
Prac­tical Taxi­dermy –
A Manual of In­struc­tion to the Am­a­teur in Col­lecting, Pre­serving, and Set­ting Up Nat­ural His­tory Spec­i­mens of All Kinds
The Bazaar
London, 1878

Non-fiction

“This com­pre­hen­sive manual on early taxi­dermy is much sought after by modern taxi­der­mists for its wealth of de­tail and his­tor­ical con­tent. The au­thor was the cu­rator of the Town Mu­seum, Leicester, and con­sid­ered to be one of Eng­land’s fore­most taxi­der­mists. He in­tended this book to be an in­tro­duc­tion to a de­lightful art, which must be wooed with pa­tient de­ter­mi­na­tion and loving pains until tech­nical skill in­vests it with beauty.” (Google Books)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is one of the lesser covers here, but I was in­trigued by the critter: which is sup­posed to be a lion but re­minds me of a hyena. (Ex­cept for the in­nards, which re­mind me of a pickle or a turd with pipe cleaners.)

1883

AntiqueBook IgnatiusDonnelly Ragnarok AgeOfFireAndGravel 1883

Ig­natius Don­nelly
Rag­narok – The Age of Fire and Gravel
D. Ap­pleton &
Com­pany
New York, 1883

Non-fiction

Rag­narok pro­poses that a comet im­pacted the Earth sev­eral tens of thou­sands of years ago; the im­pact pro­duced the Drift layers of gravel which have been at­trib­uted to the Ice ages; this event de­stroyed a civ­i­liza­tion which had high tech­nology, a civ­i­liza­tion which van­ished com­pletely ex­cept for some myths; the dis­aster was ac­com­pa­nied by cat­a­strophic fire fol­lowed by years-long cloud cover and ex­treme cold.

“Hu­manity sur­vived only by hiding in deep caves; when they re-emerged they had to restart civ­i­liza­tion from scratch. Don­nelly pro­vides ex­ten­sive ge­o­log­ical, arche­o­log­ical, as­tro­nom­ical and mytho­log­ical ev­i­dence for this theory. The book is not aca­d­emic and often sen­sa­tion­al­istic, but his pop­ulist style does not seem to de­tract from the ar­gu­ment.” (Sa­cred Texts)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is rather am­a­teurish but with a Dada-ish col­lage flavor to it (imagine it in black and white with a few words in German ac­com­pa­nying it) decades be­fore the Dadas. 

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1886

AntiqueBook CharlesKingsley WaterBabies 1886

Charles Kingsley
The Water Ba­bies – A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby
Macmillan & Com­pany
London, 1886

Fic­tion

The Water Ba­bies is a chil­dren’s novel by the Rev­erend Charles Kingsley. Written in 1862-1863 as a se­rial for Macmil­lan’s Mag­a­zine, it was first pub­lished in its en­tirety in 1863. The book was ex­tremely pop­ular during its day and was a main­stay of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture through the 1920s, but even­tu­ally fell out of favor in part due to its prej­u­dices against Irish, Jews, Catholics, blacks, Amer­i­cans, and the poor. 

In the style of Victorian-era novels, The Water Ba­bies is a di­dactic moral fable about a young chimney sweep, Tom, who falls into a river and be­comes a water baby, guided by moral teachers through lessons and ad­ven­tures, even­tu­ally earning the right to be­come human again and being united with an upper-class girl Ellie who had also be­come a water baby.” (Biblio)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a killer cover, if only for the grace­fully swirling line (the move­ment of the water?) that con­nects all the el­e­ments of the de­sign. Like the Jonathan Swift cover above, the title is nowhere to be found. And the four whites V’s in the cir­cles in the cor­ners are birds of prey, who no doubt find water ba­bies a tasty treat.

1888

AntiqueBook EdwardJGoodman TooCurious 1888

Ed­ward John Goodman
Too Cu­rious
Bentley & Son
London, 1888

Fic­tion

Here is an ex­cerpt from Too Cu­rious: “It was as though some other mind had en­tered my brain, and was talking with my own mind, speaking words that an­swered mine—words over which my will had no com­mand, unan­tic­i­pated and for­eign to my thoughts, as much as though they were ut­tered by some other vis­ible and pal­pable en­tity.”

Com­ment: For my taste, this is one of the best covers on this page. The de­sign is simple: the cur­tain is em­bossed into the cover rather than drawn or painted while the sin­ister hand pulling it back is gold. That’s all that was needed: this is the one cover in this ar­ticle where the title could have been left off and it would have added to the ef­fect of the de­sign, leaving anyone seeing it cu­rious as to its con­tents.

1889

AntiqueBook MosesWolcottRedding StandardAhimanRezonAndBlueLodgeGuide 1889

Moses Wol­cott Red­ding
Stan­dard Ahiman Rezon and Blue Lodge Guide
Red­ding & Com­pany
New York, 1889

Non-fiction

Ac­cording to var­ious sites on the in­ternet of­fering fac­sim­iles of this book for sale, “This work has been se­lected by scholars as being cul­tur­ally im­por­tant and is part of the knowl­edge base of civ­i­liza­tion as we know it. Scholars be­lieve, and we concur, that this work is im­por­tant enough to be pre­served, re­pro­duced, and made gen­er­ally avail­able to the public.”

I could find no other in­for­ma­tion ex­cept that Mr. Red­ding fre­quently wrote about Freema­sonry.

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a neat cover de­sign. Like Ig­natius Donnelly’s Rag­narok in 1883 above, it has the look of a Dada col­lage but com­bined with a taste of the al­chemist or even a necro­mancer. I could see this as the cover of one of the three books of spells in the 1992 movie Army of Dark­ness. But it also looks kinda like a hokey cover one might find on a book about the Il­lu­mi­nati of Freema­sonry.

1890

AntiqueBook CLockhart Gordon ToTheEnd 1898

C. Lock­hart Gordon
To the End
John F. Shaw & Com­pany
London, 189o

Fic­tion

C. Lock­hart Gordon was a writer of Chris­tian fic­tion for girls.

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a great cover de­sign! It re­minds me of a pho­to­graph col­lec­tors album of the 19th cen­tury, which was an enor­mously pop­ular hobby at the time. The overall de­sign of the cover—the title, the hor­i­zontal lines, the dark colors—balances the yin with the pow­erful yang of the flowers. It doesn’t look like the cover of a book in­tended for young girls being raised to be good Chris­tians.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1894

AntiqueBook YellowBookVolumeIII October1894

An­thology
The Yellow Book – An Il­lus­trated Quar­terly, Volume III
John Lane
London, 1894

Fic­tion, non-fiction, art

The Yellow Book was a British lit­erary pe­ri­od­ical that was pub­lished in London from 1894 to 1897. It was a leading journal of the British 1890s; to some de­gree as­so­ci­ated with Aes­theti­cism and Deca­dence, the mag­a­zine con­tained a wide range of lit­erary and artistic genres, po­etry, short sto­ries, es­says, book il­lus­tra­tions, por­traits, and re­pro­duc­tions of paint­ings.

Aubrey Beard­sley was its first art ed­itor, and he has been cred­ited with the idea of the yellow cover, with its as­so­ci­a­tion with il­licit French fic­tion of the pe­riod. Though Oscar Wilde never pub­lished any­thing within its pages, it was linked to him be­cause Beard­sley had il­lus­trated his Sa­lomé and be­cause he was on friendly terms with many of the con­trib­u­tors.

More­over, in Wilde’s The Pic­ture of Do­rian Gray, a major cor­rupting in­flu­ence on Do­rian is the yellow book which Lord Henry sends over to amuse him after the sui­cide of his first love.

The Yellow Book dif­fered from other pe­ri­od­i­cals in that it was is­sued cloth­bound, made a strict dis­tinc­tion be­tween the lit­erary and art con­tents (only in one or two in­stances were these con­nected), did not in­clude se­rial fic­tion and con­tained no ad­ver­tise­ments ex­cept pub­lishers’ lists.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is okay. I have long been a fan of Aubrey Beard­sley (and tried to em­u­late him for a while in col­lege), but this cover is bland. Had the panel at the top been yellow let­ters against a black back­ground it would have been a more pow­erful and ef­fec­tive de­sign. But then it would have lost both the Japanese woodcut look and much of its eroti­cism.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1897

AntiqueBook AndrewLang BookOfDreamsAndGhosts 1897

An­drew Lang
The Book of Dreams and Ghosts
Long­mans, Green & Com­pany
London and New York, 1897

Non-fiction

Of his be­lief in ghosts, An­drew Lang wrote in the third person, “The au­thor has fre­quently been asked, both pub­licly and pri­vately: ‘Do you be­lieve in ghosts?’ One can only an­swer: ‘How do you de­fine a ghost?’ I do be­lieve, with all stu­dents of human na­ture, in hal­lu­ci­na­tions of one, or of sev­eral, or even of all the senses.

But as to whether such hal­lu­ci­na­tions, among the sane, are ever caused by psy­chical in­flu­ences from the minds of others, alive or dead, not com­mu­ni­cated through the or­di­nary chan­nels of sense, my mind is in a bal­ance of doubt. It is a ques­tion of ev­i­dence.” (GoodReads)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a great de­sign, even if the an­gels in the smoke of the burning bra­ziers tem­pers the po­tency of the dreams “dreams and ghosts” promised in the title. But then this is not a col­lec­tion of creepy tales but Lang’s look at the su­per­nat­ural and the para­normal.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

 

AntiqueBook EvelynSharp Wymps 1897

Evelyn Sharp
Wymps
and Other Fairy Tales
New York and London
John Lane, 1897

Fic­tion

“Evelyn Jane Sharp was a key figure in two major British wom­en’s suf­frage so­ci­eties, the mil­i­tant Wom­en’s So­cial and Po­lit­ical Union and the United Suf­frag­ists. She helped found the latter and be­came ed­itor of Votes for Women during the First World War. She was twice im­pris­oned and be­came a tax re­sister. An es­tab­lished au­thor who had pub­lished in The Yellow Book, she was es­pe­cially well known for her chil­dren’s fic­tion.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a per­fect cover de­sign. It’s simple, clean, and strong, the reds and yel­lows jumping out of the black and green back­drop. The one-word title makes me wonder if it refers to the two dar­ling chil­dren holding hands in the fore­ground or to some­thing waiting for them at the end of the row of trees they are facing.

1898

AntiqueBook WTHorton BookOfImages 1898 1

W. T. Horton
A Book of Im­ages
The Uni­corn Press
London, 1898

Non-fiction

“A col­lec­tion of both mun­dane and mys­tical scenes, A Book of Im­ages is an odd work by W. T. Horton. Mystic, il­lus­trator and au­thor, Horton cre­ated min­i­mal­istic black and white draw­ings sim­ilar (but not as good, hon­estly) to those of Aubrey Beard­sley and Charles Rick­etts.

Im­ages of sym­bolic urban vi­sions and re­li­gious char­ac­ters are in­tro­duced by none the less than Irish poet W. B. Yeats, who spon­sored Horton’s ini­ti­a­tion into the oc­cult or­ga­ni­za­tion the Golden Dawn and ref­er­ence the il­lus­trator in his poem about Golden Dawn called ‘All Souls’ Night’.” (Socks Studio)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is one of the more al­luring covers on this page, as it makes me want to walk that windy clifftop trail and peak over the edge and see what’s below. The art looks like it’s from an un­der­ground comic book from the early 1970s, al­though there would be some­thing other than a baying wolf at the end of the trail, per­haps some­thing psy­che­delic.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

 

AntiqueBook Richard BowdlerSharpe SketchBookOfBritishBirds 1898

Richard Bowdler Sharpe
Sketch-Book of British Birds
So­ciety for Pro­moting Chris­tian Knowl­edge
London, 1898

Non-fiction

“Richard Bowdler Sharpe was an Eng­lish zo­ol­o­gist and or­nithol­o­gist who worked as cu­rator of the bird col­lec­tion at the British Mu­seum of nat­ural his­tory. In the course of his ca­reer, he pub­lished sev­eral mono­graphs on bird groups and pro­duced a multi-volume cat­alog of the spec­i­mens in the col­lec­tion of the mu­seum. He de­scribed sev­eral new species, in­cluding Sharpe’s long­claw (Hemi­macronyx sharpei) and Sharpe’s pied-babbler (Tur­doides sharpei) which are named in his honor.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is per­haps my fa­vorite cover here—for the de­sign, for the rhythms, for the colors, for the birds.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

1899

AntiqueBook WalterCrane FloralFantasyInAnOldEnglishGarden 1899

Walter Crane
A Floral Fan­tasy in an Old Eng­lish Garden
Harper & Brothers
London, 1899

Fic­tion

“Walter Crane is con­sid­ered to be the most pro­lific and in­flu­en­tial children’s book cre­ator of his gen­er­a­tion and, along with Ran­dolph Calde­cott and Kate Green­away, one of the strongest con­trib­u­tors to the child’s nursery motif that the genre of Eng­lish children’s il­lus­trated lit­er­a­ture would ex­hibit in its de­vel­op­mental stages in the latter 19th cen­tury. His work fea­tured some of the more col­orful and de­tailed be­gin­nings of the child-in-the-garden mo­tifs that would char­ac­terize many nursery rhymes and children’s sto­ries for decades to come.” (Wikipedia)

Com­ment: For my taste, this is a lovely cover, the de­sign of which re­minds just a wee bit of some of Disney’s an­i­mated films and Warner Brothers’ car­toon shorts of the 1950s. As much as I would have liked to close this ar­ticle with Richard Bowdler Sharpe’s British birds butting heads (the penul­ti­mate entry above), I had to keep this one.

To leaf through this book, click HERE.

Postscript

As with many other hand­i­crafts, there has been a re­vival of in­terest in well-made cloth­bound books in re­cent years, some hand­crafted. But that’s an­other story …

 

AntiqueBook header MysticsArt 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: I ac­tu­ally went looking for an ap­pro­pri­ately large image of a stack of an­cient books but when I saw this my search was over. As I wanted a touch of the old, I con­verted the orig­inal, lovely color image by Mys­tics Art De­sign (cour­tesy of Pix­abay) to the black & white image that is the fea­tured image at the top of this page.

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments