London: Henry Sotheran & Co., 1881.
First printing. 57 sheets unbound sheets (and one limitation sheet), numbered I to LVI, each with magnificent drawing by Crane comprising illustrated panels with decorative borders. Signed by Walter Crane in pencil on limitation page (No. 20 of 300 Copies Only. Has original publication prospectuse with elaborate Crane borders, title, etc. plus pricing (on smoother, light brown paper. Edition printed on thick art paper. Many consider this to be Crane's crowning achievement, and surely the sheer number and quality of design bears this out. The book is boldly dedicated to Charles Darwin in a preliminary sheet. Most of these illustrations were done in 1878 and 1879 while Crane was visiting the Sherwood Forest, the setting in which Wise chose for his fairy tale adventure in a Mayday variation on "A Midsumer Night's Dream." The drawings appear in the book as high quality photogravure by Goupil and Company, a process Crane found to be highly successful. Edward Burne-Jones . "Burne-Jones greatly admired this gift book... Many other details reflect the influence of the older artist's work [Burne-Jones'] such as the flowing bands of drapery fo the raibow Guardian in the 'Procession of Spring', Cranes androgynous nudes and various perpendicular compositions which echo the gentle sprial of 'They Golden stairs', one of the Burne-Joes's major works of the decade. Significant amount of foxing due to acidic nature of art paper (commonly seen) especially first few leaves, but not really affecting the the inserted plates (more on the acidic backing paper), else a very scarce survival indeed.
Price: $1,250.00 Item #2019