Heritage Press – A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1944)
October 24, 2011 § 6 Comments
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1944)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin
Introduced by William Rose Benet
Reprint of LEC #156/15th Series V. 4 in 1944
Front Binding – A charming cover for a set of nursery rhymes, eh? Roger Duvoisin’s a perfect fit for this book, I must admit, and the cover gives credence to my claim. Alas, this is a library copy, and it shows some significant wear on the corners and there’s a chunk of the centerpiece missing, but you get the idea of how nice this one is despite its flaws.
Duvoisin mostly did children’s works for the LEC and Heritage Press (and elsewhere), but I’ll let my prior comments for my Three-Cornered Hat post handle comments on his career, where I go into those details much more extensively. For here, I’ll merely add that this was his first LEC commission, and it’s a fitting one, too.
Now for the meat of this post – Robert Louis Stevenson was well loved by George Macy during his tenure. Six Stevenson works were greenlighted while Macy was alive, all of which (save the first, which is a little baffling to me as to why they picked those tales so early) were important pieces of his legacy in literature – Two Medieval Tales, book #6 of the LEC in 1929 with decorations by C.B Falls, Kidnapped in 1938 (with Hans Alexander Mueller rendering its art), Treasure Island in 1941 (Edward A. Wilson illustrated that one), this fine printing in 1944, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1952 (art also by Wilson), and The Beach of Falasa in 1956 (featuring Millard Sheets’ work), presumably being designed and planned before Macy’s death in May, 1956. Stevenson would continue to be a popular go-to for Helen Macy and Cardevon Press, as three more books would follow – Travels with a Donkey in 1957 (which reunited Duvoisin with Stevenson), The Master of Ballantre in 1965 (which Lynd Ward illustrated handsomely), and The New Arabian Nights in 1976 (Clarke Hutton did the honors here). All but the first and the last received Heritage editions, and the Heritage Press did not tackle any Stevenson works on their own accord. But nine separate works is not shabby at all – I believe that he’s the fourth most printed author from the Company, following Shakespeare, Dickens and Twain. Not bad company, that!
Title Page – William Rose Benet of Mother Goose fame (another work Duvoisin illustrated for the Heritage Press – coincidence?) offers an introduction in Stevenson’s tales, and, as I said, Duvoisin is ideal for this book. I have no clue on who designed it or how, so if you could let me know, I’d be most thankful.
Endpapers – Both endpapers feature this excellent two page illustration that is a great representation of how lovely Duvoisin’s art is for this.
Page 3 – He also did some black-and-white drawings, too.
Personal Notes – A very lovely book, one I’d like to own! Checked out from my local library.
If you have a LEC of this book or a Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing! I could use extra insights into this book. Thanks!