THE BROWN OWL: A Fairy Story.
F. Madox Brown. London: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, 1892. Stated "Second edition," though we assume this is actually a second printing or even the first edition, first printing with a new title page inserted (see below). His first book, written to amuse his sister Juliet and published when he was just seventeen years old. Illustrated with two full-page, black-and-white plates by his grandfather, F. Madox Brown, a painter closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. Harvey does not mention this second "edition"-- published the same year as the first--but does note a fourth edition dated 1898 and that "in all editions the title page is in red and black" [Harvey, A1(a-b)]. This copy in quarter blue cloth lettered in gilt on spine with cloth over boards matching that of the first edition, and with pattern on cloth extending to page edges, as in the first. Plain cream-colored endpapers pasted over the original patterned endpapers of the first edition, which are still just barely visible around the edges. Illustrated extra title page lists three titles in the "Children’s Library" on verso, as we presume does the first, and printer's leaf following p.165 reads "Printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh" as in the first edition. INTERESTINGLY, an 1892 New York, Cassell Publishing Company, stated "third edition" DIGITIZED FROM THE HOLDINGS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY is also clearly published using the same plates (if not sheets) and with the same illustrated extra title page listing three titles, printer’s leaf following p.165, and even with the "T. Fisher Unwin" logo on verso of the title page. One has to wonder whether Fisher Unwin sold the sheets from the various print runs with the offer of a cancel title page already inserted. Or, more likely, whether there was only ever one print run--given that there are very few copies in libraries worldwide (between 50 and 60 copies split between several records on OCLC) and only a handful currently offered for sale online. (Which would make Ford’s estimate that "it sold many thousands more copies than any book I ever wrote" highly unlikely [Harvey, p.4].) Contemporaneous gift inscription at head of page listing titles in the Children’s Library and another pasted to opposing blank page, few minor smudges to margins, covers rubbed and tips a little frayed, still about very good. FORD MADOX FORD'S FIRST BOOK--AN INTERESTING COPY WHICH MAY REVEAL MUCH ABOUT THE PRINTING HISTORY OF THIS BOOK.