With about 130 illustrations by W Heath Robinson, Helen Stratton and others
Constable & Company Ltd, circa 1910.
Hardback; 155 x 200 mm; dark red boards with faded gold titles on spine, a pictorial cover, and a copy of the illustration on page 21 on the spine; xvi & 435 pages. No dust jacket.
The book is in fair condition. Generally it shows wear consistent with its age and the quality of the paper used. The binding is sound although at the front the spine is starting to pull away. There are marks, dents, and stains on the cover and some bumping. The top edges of the leaves are in red to match the boards when the book is closed. When the book is closed, the other edges show discoloration and foxing which is present elsewhere in the book along with minor chips, creases, dog-ears, and tears. The bottom corner of page 65/66 has been torn off but reading of the text is unaffected. The endpapers are discoloured, and the front free endpaper has a manuscript inscription “To George from ‘Bill’” in black ink.
The tales of the Arabian Nights from which these stories are taken are well-known. The attraction of this book will be the delightful and charming illustrations by artists such as W Heath Robinson (1872 – 1944), best known for his cartoons of over-ingenious, ridiculously complicated, or elaborate mechanical contrivances, and Helen Stratton.
Helen Stratton (1867 – 1961) may be less well known now but she is nonetheless an accomplished illustrator as the artwork in this book shows. She became well known for bold and imaginative pen and ink illustrations to classic tales. In 1898 she collaborated with W Heath Robinson and three other illustrators (A D McCormick, A L Davis and A E Norbury) to create hundreds of illustrations for The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, initially published in sections, then later in a large quarto edition.