This charming little book, published in 1933 at the Athenaeum Press, and preceding T S Eliot's 'Old Possum' by some half dozen years, presents the young reader with a selection of poems featuring cats, adapted from Chinese and Japanese legends, and delightfully illustrated with Chinese-style wood engravings by Cicely Englefield (1893-), a prolific illustrator of childrens' books in the first half of the 20th century.
Arthur Lonsdale Hetherington (1881-1960) was a civil servant, and an authority on Chinese Ceramics, who published a number of books on the subject, as well as founding the Oriental Ceramic Society (1921) and acting as its secretary. His particular interest was in glazes, and he published 'Chinese Ceramic Glazes' in 1937. His own collection of ceramics was sold by Bluett's in 1953.
Our copy is known to have belonged to his grand-daughter (the name 'Cath' is in pencil at the top of the first, blank, page). The yellow card cover is much faded and age-worn, but the fierce black cat and titles etc are dramatic on the front. It evidently stood between smaller books, as there are lighter rectangles on both front and back covers. The cover is almost totally detached. Inside, the sewn binding is generally firm with no loose pages, but one or two points of weakness; almost all pages clean and bright. A very few spots of foxing. Of note is the fact that the title does not appear on the spine, as shown in photographs of other copies, possibly implying that this was a pre-publication copy given to the grand-daughter before being issued to the public.