1876. London: Macmillan and Co.,1895.
8vo, xxxvii, 260, (4)pp. ads. Presentation ink inscription dated Sept. 15, 1897. Dark green cloth, dark green endpapers, a.e.g., with pictorial decorations in gilt. Binding by A. A. Turbayne with his stamp. (See McLean p. 155).
§ First of this edition, one of Turbayne's most famous binding designs. "Turbayne is perhaps at his most striking, though, when he focuses on a sort of elegant asymmetry. His most characteristic designs are tangled interlaces, usually figured as naturalistic vines, tendrils or briars, that seem perpetually on the point of overbalancing. In the cover For Reynard the Fox he offers a key image from the text – with the fox reaching uneasily for the chickens – but casts it in the form of a swirling briar of dog-roses." For more on Turbayne see http://www.victorianweb.org/art/design/books/cooke7.html.
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 #124275