Lot 526

NICHOLSON, William (1872-1949, illustrator). An Alphabet, London, 1899, 26 coloured lithographed plates by Nicholson, original coloured pictorial boards. PRESENTATION COPY.

Estimate: £500 - £800
Hammer price: £750
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

NICHOLSON, William (1872-1949, illustrator).  An Alphabet. London: William Heinemann, January 1899. 4to (308 x 242mm). Coloured lithographed publisher's device on title, 26 coloured lithographed plates by William Nicholson, one-page of publisher's advertisements at the end (a few light marginal spots). Original cloth-backed coloured pictorial boards (edges and, more particularly, the corners rubbed, inner hinges split). FIRST EDITION, third impression, PRESENTATION COPY, the front pastedown inscribed, "For Rachel, from Mr [?or Wm] Nicholson who did it." One could speculate that, supposing the inscription to be later than the date of the book's publication, the recipient of this copy was Rachel Nicholson (born 1934), daughter of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, and granddaughter of William Nicholson, and an esteemed artist in her own right. "The illustrations [for An Alphabet] were boldly cut in linoleum and hand-coloured. The books had an immediate success. A contemporary reviewer writing in the St James's Gazette said: 'You must turn to your best specimens of Japanese colour-printing to get anything better than these boldly constructed blacks and reds. And what the Eastern world will gain by its delicacy of outline or of tint, it will lose by comparison with the truth of modelling in face and figure which is characteristic of this  modern work'" (John Lewis, The 20th Century Book (1976)).

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