Charles Kingsley's tale of the poor little chimney sweep, his escape from a cruel master, and his miraculous survival and experiences under water, was written partly as satire in support of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species". The book was extremely popular in England, and was a mainstay of British children's literature for many decades, but eventually fell out of favour in part due to its prejudices (common at the time) against Irish, Jews, Catholics and Americans. These aspects, however, would surely be far over the head of any youngster reading the story for the first time, and these days the 'Moral' chapter at the end might be more of an off-putting aspect.
Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) was a 'broad church' priest of the Church of England, a university professor, social reformer, historian and novelist. He is particularly associated with Christian socialism, the working men's college, and the formation of labour cooperatives that failed initially but ultimately led to the working reforms of the progressive era. He was a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin.
Jessie Willcox Smith (1863–1935) was an American illustrator during the Golden Age of American illustration, and was considered "one of the greatest pure illustrators"
Our copy is in almost as-new condition, the dark red leather binding clean and unmarked apart from one tiny crease at the bottom outer corner. Gilt decoration and lettering on front and spine is bright. Inside, the binding is tight with no loose pages; all pages clean and bright; many tipped-in full-page colour illustrations (with guards), and many more green line drawings interspersed through the text. Broad dark red silk page marker present. This would make a handsome gift.