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Nursery Rhymes - Bayfield, Gertrude - 1880. 
Clamshell Box: Half Morocco, cloth boards. . Near Fine. With two manuscript albums of illustrated nursery rhymes, some of which we believe are completely original, while others were known ones at the time, all of which, though, are enriched with whimsical original illustrations rendered in pen and ink and watercolor. N.d., circa 1880 and 1910. The illustrations, generally one per page, owe a special debt to Kate Greenaway, whose style they often mimic. Here and there one can see the influence of other popular illustrators such as Edward Lear. Yet these similarities do not discredit the young amateur, as many professional illustrators were just as strongly influenced by the same precursors. The smaller of the two manuscripts is the earlier of the two. It is oblong, measuring 9 by 13 cm, and it is unpaginated, with about 75 pages. Original linen boards, with a title written with calligraphy on the cover. Within are sixty illustrations rendered in pen and ink and watercolors, each signed with the initials: G.L. We would consider approximately half of the nursery rhymes as either original or highly unusual or ones with which we were not acquainted. An example in this category would by "Little Tom Nody", which goes like this: "Little Tom Nody, he had no body,/ An odd looking fellow was he/ His legs grew out from under his chin/ A comical sight to see./ He grew thinner and thinner, / Could eat no dinner,/ Till out of his eyes ran tears,/ And now he jumps without any stumps,/ And has to walk on his ears." Or a second example: "A birdie say on a chimney pot/ And listened as if he could hear and know/ What was going on in the house below./ Perhaps he could, but he would not say,/ For when I asked him he flew away Verse rendered in a neat hand throughout. "Dedicated to my two Little Sisters Bella & Kellie". Front gutter margin professionally repaired. New rear endpapers. The second, later manuscript is also oblong, 11.5 by 8 cm, and about 50 pages. Original linen boards, with calligraphic title on front cover again. Illustrated with 68 pen and ink and watercolor vignettes, the first two initialled "K.S.", and recto of first leaf with pencilled ownership name "Gertrude Bayfield". Front endpapers renewed. Again, verse neatly written. This second manuscript emulates in many respects the first one, with a good amount of the content of the first reproduced in the second. The custom box makes for a very handsome presentation. It is of a half navy blue leather, bordered with a gilt rinceaux. The boards are of blue cloth. Each of the manuscript albums is housed within the box in a well fitting them exactly.
[Bookseller: White Fox Rare Books and Antiques]
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