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Book Description

FIRST EDITION ILLUSTRATED BY C.E. BROCK, IN THE ORIGINAL GILT VELLUM BINDING

Octavo (193 x 122mm), pp. [2 (blank l.)], [i-ii (series-title, verso blank)], [iii-vi (frontispiece and illustrated title, verso blank)], vii-viii (illustrations), ix-xviii (‘Introduction’), 1-262, [2 (imprint, verso blank)]. Colour-printed frontispiece and colour-printed illustrated title, both integral to the pagination and retaining the shared tissue guard, and 22 colour-printed plates, all after Brock. (A few light spots and marks, some light foxing on fore-edges, early ll. and tissue guard.) Original vellum gilt, upper board densely gilt with floral and foliate tools enclosing a title-cartouche and flower-basket design within border of gilt dots, spine densely gilt with title-cartouche above floral and foliate tools and flower-basket design, publisher’s name in gilt at the foot of the spine, decorative endpapers printed in green, top edges gilt, others uncut, red silk marker. (Light offsetting and spotting on endpapers, marker detached and frayed, edges minimally bumped, covers slightly bowed as often.) A very good copy in the original de luxe vellum binding.
Dealer Notes
First Brock edition. George Eliot’s novel Silas Marner was first published in 1861 and some 8,000 copies had been sold by the end of the year. It remained one of the author’s most highly-regarded novels after her death and, after the copyrights expired in the late 19th century, editions of Silas Marner ‘began to appear in increasing profusion. The relative accessibility and broad appeal of the work made it particularly apt for “popular” editions, or for those designed to suit younger readers, often with some editing, notes, abridgement, adaptation, and illustrations’ (W. Baker and J.C. Ross, George Eliot: A Bibliographical History (New Castle, DE and London, 2002), p. 137).

The present edition was published in the Dent’s ‘Series of English Idylls’ in 1905, prefaced with an introduction by the poet and children’s writer Annie Matheson (1853-1924) – which had first appeared in a Dent edition of Silas Marner in 1903 – and illustrated by C.E. Brock. Charles Brock (1870-1938) and his brother Henry (‘Harry’) Matthew Brock (1875-1960) ‘were in the front rank of British book and magazine illustrators’ in the period between 1895 (when they first came to prominence) and the outbreak of World War I (ODNB). The Brock brothers had first worked for J.M. Dent in 1898, when they provided a set of watercolour illustrations for an edition of Jane Austen’s novels, and ‘[n]otable examples of Charles’s work are the watercolours he provided for Dent’s English Idylls series (1904-9)’ (op. cit.), which include the present set of illustrations. As with the other works in the ‘Series of English Idylls’, Silas Marner was available in either a gilt cloth binding (priced at 5s.) or a de luxe gilt vellum binding (as here), at the higher price of 8s. 6d. Copies in the vellum binding are less common than those in the cloth bindings, and were presumably issued in smaller numbers due to the higher price.
Author ‘ELIOT, George’ [i.e. Marian EVANS] and Charles Edmund BROCK (artist)
Date 1905
Publisher London and New York: Turnbull and Spears for J.M. Dent & Co. and E.P. Dutton & Co.

Price: £95.00

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