“NOW, MY DEARS… DON’T GO INTO MR. MCGREGOR’S GARDEN”: FIRST TRADE EDITION; DELUXE BINDING OF THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Item Number: 101822
London: Frederick Warne, 1902.
First trade edition, deluxe binding in green cloth of this children’s classic. 12 mo, original publisher’s green cloth, lettered in red with publisher’s monogram to upper cover, top edge gilt, gray leaf-patterned endpapers, with 31 color illustrations. With “wept big tears” on page 51, and leaf patterned end-papers. Linder notes that 2000 copies from the first 8000 were issued in “green cloth, light green cloth or olive-green cloth.” Linder p 421; Quinby 2. In very good condition, rebacked with the original spine, retaining original endpapers. Housed in a a custom cloth clamshell box.
In 1893, young Beatrix Potter, on holiday with her parents in Scotland, composed a letter to cheer Noel, the child of her former governess, who was suffering from rheumatic fever. "My dear Noel," she began, "I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits, whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter " The Tale of Peter Rabbit was born. Undaunted by multiple publishers' rejections, Potter published the first two private editions of Peter Rabbit at her own expense, both editions totaling only 450 copies which immediately sold. Publisher Frederick Warne agreed to print the first trade edition of Peter Rabbit and presented for the first time the now-familiar format of Potter's books: the earlier black-and-white line drawings replaced by full-color illustrations and the famous prancing image of Peter mounted on the front cover. "There are no recognizable differences between the first three printings, except that green boards were introduced after the first printing" (Linder, 421).