Brief comments on Andrew Lang’s “The Blue Fairy Book” (McKay, 1921), as illustrated by Frank Godwin — in dust jacket!

This post is based on an earlier post, which I have revised quite a bit and which I am now posting as a “new” post.

Even though this blog is at least nominally devoted largely to Frank Godwin’s Rusty Riley comic strip, some of the posts do not deal directly with Rusty Riley.  This post will deal with The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang, as illustrated by Godwin.  The first Godwin edition was published by David McKay Company in 1921.

One of the problems with older books of the type under discussion is that they tend to be in less than great condition. Below is shown an image of a copy that is in my collection, which is something of a rara avis, in that it is in unusually nice condition, with dust jacket:

Sometime in the future, I may write at some length about the Frank Godwin version of The Blue Fairy Book.  It is an interesting and somewhat complicated subject, because the book appeared in several different versions.  Also, certain illustrations from it were used for purposes outside of the book, as well.  For instance, I have a “watercolor set” based upon it, and I saw a related but different watercolor set or the like on eBay, but I allowed it to slip through my fingers.

One basic cover used by McKay portrayed a ship and a castle.  Some copies of that had black covers, and others had blue covers, and I believe there are one or two other differences among copies.

At least one other cover was used by McKay, in a smaller (and I believe later) version (of which there are sub-versions).  That basic version (at least, one or two I have seen) has far fewer illustrations.

As for the blue-cloth “ship” version, I have not been able to compare multiple copies, but it should not be assumed that all are identical.

I think I have five copies of the book in all, three with the “ship” cover.  I don’t think that the book could be considered overall scarce, but I think that in anything approaching fine condition it would be considered rather hard to find.  If you search Google (images) for …

Godwin “Blue Fairy Book”

. . . you will probably find images of (mainly) three covers with the ship, all of which are significantly scuffed or scraped.

—Tom Sawyer

Originally published May 2, 2012.

Revised as of November 10, 2013.

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