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[The novels:] Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; Northanger Abbey; Persuasion
London: J. M. Dent & Co.,; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.,, 1907-9. 6 volumes, octavo. Contemporary green half calf by Rivière & Son, spines gilt in compartments, green cloth sides, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. Each volume with a colour-illustrated frontispiece and title page, and 22 colour plates, all by C. E. Brock. Spines sunned, occasional very minor nicks to the bands, ends or corners, front board of Mansfield Park a little mottled, extremely faint spotting to edges and a few endpapers, but otherwise internally fresh; a sound, attractive set in excellent condition. First Brock edition set of the complete novels of Jane Austen, presented as an attractive uniform set in handsome contemporary bindings by Rivière & Son. C. E. Brock (1870-1938) first appeared as an illustrator of Jane Austen within Macmillan's 1895-7 series (with introductions by Austin Dobson), Brock illustrating only Pride and Prejudice, and Hugh Thomson illustrating the other 5 titles. This series was only illustrated in black and white, which better suited Thomson's skilful use of line. A decade later, J.M. Dent, realising Brock's potential as a colourist, commissioned him to redo the Pride and Prejudice suite, this time in colour, and to create colour illustrations for the other 5 Austen titles. Dent's "Series of English Idylls" thus presents the first Brock illustrations for the other 5 Austen titles, the first colour Brock illustrations, and the first complete Brock-illustrated Austen set. Brock was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1908, and certainly his vision of Austen's world, its gentle graces and sharp ironies, is best expressed, as here, in colour. Furthermore, the colourful costumes and interior decor depicted in these illustrations are reputedly accurate to the Regency period, for Charles Brock and his brother Henry used to collect antique furniture and clothing so that their friends and relations could model for the artists in their Cambridge studio. A lovely set.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-10-10           Check availability:      Biblio    

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