Poems. With Illustrations by Florence Harrison. Introduction by Alice Meynell.
London: Blackie & Son Limited, 1910. Thick 4to, xxiv, 369,  pp. Illustrated with 36 tipped in colour plates and 34 black and white plates by Florence Harrison. Original white buckram decorated in gilt, gilt top, front hinge cracking, very good. First edition with lovely late Art Nouveau illustrations. Florence Susan Harrison was the second daughter of Captain Norwood Harrison and his wife Lucy. Their first daughter Edith died during early childhood and two younger brothers Arthur and Godfrey, were born later. The family were Anglicans and much of Florence's education must have been carried out by her closest family during long periods at sea with her parents. Between voyages, however, she attended a school run by a relative in Folkestone. Her first published illustrations appeared in Rhymes and Reasons (Blackie 1905) and the popularity of that book quickly led to a further commission entitled The Rhyme of a Run. Both of these books were aimed at the expanding children's market of the time. They were very well received : the Atheneum praised the "charming imagination in both verse and pictures".The following year Harrison received £100 (approximately £8500 at today's values) for a further collection of her verse entitled In the Fairy Ring. This was aimed at a more adult market and the Pall Mall Gazette commented "so excellent are the drawings that they earn Miss Harrison a very high place among the illustrators of children's books". In 1908 Blackie commissioned Harrison to illustrate a major gift book destined specifically for the adult market as part of their Fine Art Series. This appeared as Poems by Christina Rossetti. Such was the success of this venture that it soon led to contracts for two similar volumes entitled Guinevere and other poems (Tennyson, 1912) and The Early poems of William Morris (1914). Although Goblin Market was already well know in the edition illustrated by Laurence Housman, Harrisons version is by no means overshadowed and quite holds its own, though of course it is but a small part of the whole book. There was a de luxe edition of 350 signed copies, with the b/w plates tipped in, but in the trade edition they are printed directly onto the page. Christina Rossetti only published two books in her short life, and Alice Meynell, herself a writer of renown, made the choices for this beautifully produced selection.
(Item Id: 108716)