1894. London: Macmillan and Co., 1894.
8vo, (xxxii), 163 pp. Original dark green cloth richly stamped in gilt with pictorial designs gilt edges. Very lightly rubbed, scattered foxing within, a very good copy.
§ Ten traditional songs and verses selected and introduced by Austin Dobson: Coridon's Song, Morning in London, A hunting we will go!, et al. Illustrated by Hugh Thomson, whose illustrations for Mrs Gaskell's Cranford, inspired the recognition of the Cranford series of books, of which this is a charming example.
The Cranford Series proper consists of twenty-four illustrated volumes issued over a period of thirty-two years, 1876-1907, by Macmillan and Co. They are all crown 8vo; they all have edges
cut and gilt; they are all bound in smooth shiny cloth of a uniform dark shade of green; they all have the fronts and the spines of these bindings heavily stamped with gold designs.
It was not until seventeen years and the issue of a fifth volume that it was even recognized as a series, and then it took its name, not from its originator, Caldecott, nor from its first volume, Old
Christmas, but from its fourth volume, Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell, 1891. In 1892 when six new volumes were issued by the name of Cranford, the name was extended to the entire group,
including the three previous volumes. (See T. Balston, “The Cranford Series and Its Imitators”, pp. 186-88, The Bookman’s Journal, Vol. XII, No. 47 (New Series), August, 1925.
In addition to the twenty-four “Cranford” volumes, there are a dozen or more other volumes which are ‘derivatives,’ similar-looking volumes issued by other publishers, including Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner; George Allen’ and F. S. Ells; they are often mistaken for the Cranford series, but are not part of it. Item #124272