An Alphabet



London: William Heinemann, (1897) 1898.

The scarce and desirable large Library Edition. Title and 26 three colour lithographs printed on hand-made wove paper and tipped-in on brown paper leaves. First published in 1897 title page dated 1898. Folio. 15.75 x 12.5 ins. Full pictorial cloth with title in black on spine and upper cover. All edges gilt. William Nicholson’s most famous graphic work priced at 12s – 6d on publication. The artist’s ironic sense of wit and fondness for puns in evidence with “A for artist” a self-portrait but as a pavement artist rather than a fine artist. And “B for Beggar” being a portrait of Nicholson’s brother-in-law, James Pryde, his partner in J. and W. Beggarstaff. Together, the Begarstaff brothers designed posters and other graphic work which captured the attention of the art world. “An Alphabet” is the first of the five portrait/picture books that Heinemann published with Nicholson lithographs. The artist was paid £5 for each image with six shillings additional for hand-colouring. Nicholson claimed he could turn out 40 a day. Better than a very good + copy with slight soiling to covers and light scattered foxing to the brown leaves. The plates uneffected.

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