BUTTERFLIES ON BICYCLES INSPIRED BY BEARDSLEY

An archive of drawings for Just Forty Winks.

[c. 1897].

58 pencil sketches on loose paper leaves (c. 255 x 189 mm), including sketches for title-page, frontispiece, and contents leaf; lightly toned with some fraying and chipping to edges, several sketches on partial leaves but in very good condition overall.

[offered with:]

HENDRY, Hamish. Just Forty Winks, or, The droll adventures of Davie Trot. [London], Blackie & Son, [1897].

8vo, pp. [i]-xv, [1 (blank)], [17]–174, black-and-white illustrations by Gertrude M. Bradley throughout; a few light marks, juvenile hand-colouring to illustrations on pp. 24, 103, and 146; otherwise a very good copy in the original publisher’s pictorial cloth depicting three fiddling mice in blue, yellow, and green to upper board, and a king to the spine, beige and green dustjacket depicting the same, edges gilt; head- and tailcap and corners bumped, dustjacket worn with small losses at upper corner, fore-edge, and head of spine.

£850

Approximately:
US $1075€1004

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An archive of drawings for Just Forty Winks.

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Fifty-eight delightful preliminary pencil sketches by the illustrator Gertrude M. Bradley for Just Forty Winks, Hendry’s tale for children, offered with a copy of the first and only edition, rare in the dustjacket.

Just Forty Winks is one of several works penned by the late-nineteenth century children’s writer, Hamish Hendry, author of Red Apple and Silver Bells (1897), A Child’s London (1900), and Merry Mr. Punch (1902). The bright and amusing tale in the style of Carroll’s classic ‘Alice’ books published three decades earlier relates the adventures of the young Davie Trot who, falling asleep in a warm schoolroom, finds his way to the dreamland of merry old King Cole.

Painter, engraver and illustrator Gertrude M. Bradley was born in Richmond, Yorkshire in 1869. Although her sketches for Just Forty Winks are almost all quick, preparatory drawings, they depict Hendry’s wide variety of anthropomorphic animals, nursery rhyme characters, and courtly caricatures with compelling immediacy. A portrait of King Cole is accompanied by the note ‘dress with ludicrous regal accessories / with imperial beard (?)’. The beard in question evidently did not make the final cut (cf. p. 72). Three sketches for the illustrated title-page show how the design for this page shifted from a simple drawing of the king to a whole host of the book’s characters, including the ‘reckless young Butterfly’ on a bicycle (cf. p. 33), processing along the winding path of Dream Lane.

On publication, Punch described Just Forty Winks as ‘daintily illustrated’ (18 December 1897, p. 277) while Literature noted that ‘in some the influence of Aubrey Beardsley is curiously perceptible’ (13 November 1897, p. 118).

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