Books illustrated by Mervyn Peake
First edition London: Chatto & Windus 1940
Cream paper-covered boards, 252 x 191 (quarto format but gathered as if folio), lettered in black on the front and down the spine. Front cover reproduces the illustration from p.13 (‘Ride a Cock-Horse’); rear cover the illustration from p.17 (‘I Saw a Ship A-Sailing’), though the wall is not coloured brown as it is in the book. Frontispiece and 14 full-page illustrations on cream text-paper, highlighted with stencilled colour. One of Peakes finest works. At the last minute he had it dedicated to Sebastian, which means that some copies were released without the dedication.
Twelve of the illustrations were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in December 1941.
New Statesman, 7 December 1940, p.588, by Frances Bird (‘macabre and imaginative pictures . . . recommended for children’)
TLS, 7 December 1940, p. xxi (‘a sort of window onto the unknown’)
Spectator, 13 December 1940, p.658
Observer, 29 December 1940, p.4 (‘weird, almost macabre manner’)
Studio, March 1941, vol.121, pp.95–96 (‘MP’ s pen drawings . . . are of exceptional merit’)
British Book News, 1948, pp.14–15 (‘MP’ s caricature – of particularly macabre and ghoulish brand – is delightfully applied’)
Reissue; first Canadian Toronto: Macmillan 1940
Imported copies of (a). Not seen.
Second edition, first American New York: Transatlantic 1944
Third edition London: Chatto & Windus 1972
A close approximation to (a) in white paper-covered boards 254 x 185, with the lettering and illustrations in the same places. But the colours are less delicate and subtle, both inside and outside the book. White d/w printed as cover with quotes from reviews of the first edition on the front flap and on the back a brief notice of the author (‘A story for children written and illustrated by MP in 1946 [sic], Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor, was recently reissued in its original form’ – if only it had been!).
Spectator, 11 November 1972, vol.229, p.764, by Ruth Marris (‘illustrated with great depth and perception’)
Times, 30 November 1972, p.vii (‘recent reissue . . . most welcome’)
Observer, 17 December 1972, p.32
Children’ s Book Review, 1973, vol.iii, no.1, pp.19–20, by Brian W. Alderson (‘powerful drawings’)
Mother & Baby, August 1974, p.17, by Elaine Moss
Publisher’ s Weekly, 29 October 1979, vol.216, p.83 (‘each picture harmonizes perfectly with the poem it accompanies’)
First paperback impression London: Chatto & Windus 1972
A simultaneous issue of (d), bound in limp covers 247 x 181.
Lewis Carroll, THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK : An agony in eight fits
By kind permission of Dr. Selwyn Goodacre, this entry is adapted from his description
of all the impressions of this title in the Centennial Edition of
Lewis Carrolls The Hunting of the Snark, Wm. Kaufmann Inc., 1981.
First edition London: Chatto & Windus 20 November 1941
Yellow paper-covered boards 187 x 117, the front cover reproducing in black the title and picture from p.19, the back cover the illustration from p.26, with title above, and refrain verse and publisher below; title, author and illustrator lettered in black down the spine. No.26 in the series ‘Zodiac Books’.
Reprinted 1942, styled ‘Second Impression’ on the reverse of the title-page.
The illustrations for the Bellmans speech (p.19) and the Butcher and the Beaver (p.33) were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in December 1941.
Reissue; first Canadian Toronto: Macmillan 1941
Imported copies of (a). Not mentioned by Dr. Goodacre. Not seen.
Second impression London: Chatto & Windus 16 December 1941
Pink cloth boards 214 x 137, with title and author lettered in gilt down the spine. The front of the grey d/w repeats the title-page design but without the date; the back has the p.40 illustration (enlarged), with publishers name; title, author and illustrator lettered in black down the backstrip, as in (a). Internally identical to (a) except for the omission of ‘Zodiac Books’ on p.[ii] and the title-page which is enlarged to bleed as in (a). A deluxe issue, price 5 shillings. 1400 copies printed, but not a limited issue as such.
Fourth impression London: Lighthouse Books (Chatto & Windus) 1948
Very similar to (a). Name of publisher adapted to new impression. No.4 in a series of six titles.
Fifth impression London: Chatto & Windus 1953
Blank yellow paper boards 190 x 128 simulating cloth, with title and publishers device on the spine in silver. Issued in a d/w which copies the binding of (a), but with nothing below the refrain on the back. Calls itself the ‘Fourth Impression’; reprinted 1958 (‘Fifth Impression’); 1964 (‘Sixth Impression’); 1969, styled ‘Fourth Impression’, the point of reference being 1953; actually the ninth impression; 1973 (‘Fifth impression’); 1975 (‘Sixth Impression’) – the first to include a full listing from 1941; 1987, ‘Seventh impression’, actually the twelfth.
Seventh impression London: Reprint Society 1960
A special issue for the Reprint Society Book Club ‘by arrangement with Chatto & Windus’. Slightly smaller than (e), in limp beige cloth; front cover has in black the title, author and illustrator, and part of the p.45 illustration; back cover has title, etc., and p.10 illustration, with note of the Book Society.
Second edition London: Chatto & Windus 1993
Almost square format, 150 x 115, of the new Chatto Pocket Library; white laminated paper-covered boards, printed in black and yellow with a yellow cloth spine lettered in gilt within a frame.
The title-page design is omitted and the illustrations have been squashed (i.e. reduced by 75% in height but only 10% in width) to fit the new page format: a disaster.
Published in September 1993. Number of copies not known.
Third edition London: Methuen 2000
Dark maroon paper-covered boards, lettered in silver down the spine, in a coated d/w reproducing the original title page drawing (in black) with new titling (in maroon). Pages  to  reproduce MP’s preparatory sketches and designs for the book, making it a most valuable tool for the study of his working methods.
First edition London: Faber & Faber 1943
Drab khaki cloth 206 x 135 lettered in blue down the spine. Thin grey paper d/w with title and author in red; ‘with / drawings by / MP’ in black beside a drawing of the young soldier (from p.93). The back of the d/w reproduces the frontispiece drawing. First printed in July 1943; reprinted September 1943 and twice in 1944. The fifth impression (1945) is bound in red. Reprint d/ws have quotes from reviews on the front flap.
Birmingham Post, 31 August 1943, by G. A. S.
Church Times, 10 September 1943, p.465 (‘these pictures . . . double the value of the book’)
Listener, vol.30, no.771, 21 October 1943, p.478 (‘rather silly illustrations’)
Observer, 12 September 1943, p.3, by Simon Harcourt-Smith (‘mock-Tenniel illustrations’)
Time & Tide, 25 September 1943, pp.784–85, by Martin Tindal (‘marvellously portrayed by MP’)
Reissue, first Canadian Toronto: Ryerson Press 1943
Presumed to be imported copies of (a). Not seen.
Second edition; first American New York: Arco 1944
Duck-egg cloth 218 x 148 with figure of the soldier from p.51 of (a) stamped and printed in red on the front. Author and publisher lettered in red across the spine at head and foot (respectively), title running down the spine. A photograph of Joad precedes the title-page which spreads across two leaves, including the same drawing of the soldier as on the cover. Design by Ben Raeburn. (Not seen in d/w.)
The illustrations are not in exactly the same places as in (a) – the frontispiece becomes an endpiece, for example – but they are carefully placed.
First edition London: Nicholson & Watson 1943
A paper-covered, stapled booklet 212 x 138, lettered in red on the front with drawing of kangaroo in a frame. Spine barred with red.
Seven finely-crosshatched full-page illustrations.
Facsimile impression London: Mervyn Peake Society 1978
Reproduced from GPWs copy. The red bars across the spine were redrawn to avoid a bleed but appear no different to the naked eye. The position of the first illustration (of the kangaroo in a paper-filled government office) was shifted from the verso of the title-leaf to the verso of the half-title, facing the first page of the poem, to avoid risk of strike-through on the title-page and enabling publication details to be placed, correctly, on the verso of the title leaf.
The printing of (a) was not good (to say the least of it) and Pierre Echenard, who prepared the offset negatives for the facsimile, cleaned up the print and removed the impression of nail heads (!) from the corners of the illustrations, etc.
Published 17th November 1978 at £2. 1000 copies printed.
Facsimile impression; signed, limited edition London: Mervyn Peake Society
Printed on special paper (High Speed 100 gsm) with the addition of limitation to 40 numbered copies on p.; otherwise identical to (b). Signed on the title page by Quentin Crisp.
Published 17th November 1978 at £5. 41 copies printed, of which No 41 remained with the printer.
First edition London: Chatto & Windus 1943
Pale blue cloth 193 x 131 with title, author and publishers initials in gilt down the spine. Black-and-white d/w reproduces the illus. from p. of the Mariner with the Albatross slung round his neck; title and author within a frame beneath. The back of the d/w reproduces the final illustration, ‘I pass like night, from land to land’, from p., with ‘Illustrated by / MERVYN PEAKE’ below, framed as on the front.
Price 5s. on front flap. Fore-edges of pages uncut: bottom edge irregular in height. Dated on p..
b. Reissue; first
Canadian Toronto: Macmillan 1943
Imported copies of (a). Not seen.
New impression London: Lighthouse Books (Chatto & Windus) 1949
The title-page gives the publisher as ‘Zodiac Books / LONDON’; the verso of the title-page reads ‘Published by / LIGHTHOUSE BOOKS LTD / and distributed by / CHATTO & WINDUS / LONDON’. Bound in paper-covered boards 187 x 117 in duck-egg grey, with the same pictures as (a) front and back. Title, author and illustrator lettered in black on the front (in a double frame including the drawing) and down the spine. Dated on title-page.
Internally identical to (a) except for prelims which list the 12 Zodiac titles.
d. Reissue; second
Canadian Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 1949
Imported copies of (c). Not seen.
New impression London: Chatto & Windus 1971
Bright turquoise cloth 184 x 120, lettered in gilt down the spine with a similarly coloured d/w that follows the design of (c), with new lettering beneath the picture. According to the verso of the title-page, ‘This edition [was] first published 1949’ and ‘illustrations © Chatto & Windus 1949’. Reprinted in 1972, 1973 and 1976.
Reissue; third Canadian Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 1971
Imported copies of (e). Not seen.
Second edition London: Chatto & Windus 1978
Bound in black cloth 344 x 215 lettered in gilt down the spine, in a bright orange-red d/w reproducing the same illustration. On the front the author is lettered in white and the title and illustrator in black, as are the title, author and publisher down the spine. Title-page overprinted in yellow. Verso of title-page perpetuates the erroneous ‘First published by Chatto & Windus in 1949’.
This large edition, with text reset and the illustrations printed from new and much larger plates, is the first to include the illustration of Life-in-Death which Chatto declined to print when the drawings were received in 1943.
Bookseller, 16 September 1978, p.2269
Irish Times, 23 September 1978
British Book News, December 1978, p.962, by Naomi Lewis (‘one of the finest of all P’ s works as illustrator’)
MPR, Autumn 1978, no.7, by Peter Stap
Observer, 3 December 1978
New Statesman, 16 February 1979, pp.222–23, by Jonathan Keates
Reissue Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 1978
Imported copies of (g).
Third edition London: Chatto & Windus 1993
Almost square format, 150 x 115, of the new Chatto Pocket Library; white laminated paper-covered boards, printed in black and green with a green cloth spine lettered in gilt within a frame. Contains the Life-in-Death illustration; persists in believing that the first edition was © Chatto & Windus 1949.
Published in September 1993. Number of copies not known.
Fourth (limited) edition Marlborough: Libanus Press 2003
An inch taller than A4, in brilliant red cloth cover with THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER lettered in gilt across the front and down the spine. Top edge gilt. Reproduces Peakes drawings in their final state, restored. Introduction by Fabian Peake.
Published in September 2003 in an edition of 130 copies, of which 50 boxed with a separate portfolio of prints.
Fifth edition London: Vintage 2004
Paperback, with the illustrations reduced to about a quarter of the original size. Ten-page introductory essay by Marina Warner.
All but one of these illustrations have now been acquired by the Wordsworth Trust and can be seen at Dove Cottage.
a. First edition
London: Gollancz 1944
A squarish 165 x 130, bound in blue cloth with a head-and-shoulders picture of a man praying (not in the book) stamped in gilt on the front. Title lettered in gilt up the spine. The front of the pink d/w carries the title lettered in black, the drawing of Queen Victoria from p., and ‘This is the front: turn to the back’; on the back, the title, subtitle, author and illustrator are lettered in black, plus ‘This is the back: turn to the front’.
According to the d/w of More Prayers and Graces (B20a), this was ‘the Christmas gift book for 1944, selling close on 40,000 at its first fling; but it has continued to sell ever since, with undiminished popularity.’ Consequently it can be seen in a number of issues, with the binding varying from dark blue coarse linen to pale blue fine cloth, and with either 4/6 or 2/6 on the back of the d/w. Also reported lettered in creamy blue up the spine.
Daily Herald, 13 December 1944, p.2, by John Betjeman (‘You may safely give this book to a clergyman’)
Time & Tide, 23 December 1944, p.1136, by C. V. Wedgwood
Second edition London: Pan Books 1981
Laminated paper cover 178 x 111 lettered in red and black down the spine and, on the front, above a drawing of a quizzical parson from More Prayers and Graces, which is also reprinted in this edition. The compilers name is misspelt on the spine and on the back but not on the title-page.
All the drawings are present, though with somewhat coarser lines than in (a).
First edition London: Batsford 1945
Bright red, fine linen binding, 225 x 155, with title, author and publisher lettered in gilt across the spine. Top-edges red. In the grey-and-brown d/w painting by MP, a witch contemplates a wax figure through which she has stuck a nail; title and author lettered in white across the front and up the backstrip. Owing to the shortage of paper at the time, the d/w was printed on the back of what appears to have been a large poster printed with faces in yellow on white. The inside flap carries the price (21s.) and the publishers blurb which concludes that MPs ‘drawings are, we believe, a very notable addition to the art of English illustration.’
55 illustrations of various sizes and techniques: line drawings, fine crosshatching, and line with brown or grey wash.
First printed in the spring of 1945, the book was very successful, requiring a reprint. The second impression is identified by the words ‘Second Impression Autumn, 1945’ on the verso of the title-leaf; the reverse of the d/w is plain (a slightly lighter weight of paper). The inside front flap carries quotes from reviews in place of the publishers blurb quoted above. It appears that to satisfy local demand another impression was made in the late 50s or early 60s for the Home Counties branch of the Library Association.
TLS, 24 March 1945, p.142 (‘The illustrations may give bad dreams to those who study them too long’)
Listener, 19 April 1945, vol.33, p.442, by Harry Price (‘striking drawings’)
Life & Letters, October 1945, vol.47, pp.60 & 62, by Winifred Graham Wilson (‘I would prefer the artist to have expressed human beings more often, as he does so well in the case of Old Chattox’)
Reissue; first Canadian Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 1945
Apparently imported copies of (a). Not seen.
Another impression; first American New York: Scribners Sons 1947
Slightly larger than (a), 240 x 160, and bound in dark blue buckram with title and author lettered in gilt down the spine; publisher in gilt across the foot. Same d/w design as (a) but from the blurring and loss of contrast it cannot have been printed from the original artwork. Same blurb, reset, on front flap. Internally the same as (a) – i.e. the text was not reset, although printed in America – except that some plates face left instead of right and vice versa.
American Historical Review, vol. 53, No 2, January 1948, pp.325–6, by C. L’ Estrange Ewen
Second edition, revised London: Batsford 1977
Bound in black imitation cloth 222 x 143 with author and publisher lettered in gilt across the head and foot of the spine, the title running down. Laminated d/w lettered in green and white with drawing of Elizabeth Francis (from (a) p.51) in red (reversed tone values). Four different drawings on the endpapers, white on grey.
There is no mention in the book that this is a revised edition; only the d/w mentions that the illustrations ‘were specially drawn, over twenty years ago [sic], by Mervyn Peake for the books first edition.’ Contains only 28 illustrations, some of them reproduced very clumsily (for further details, see MPR 5, Editorial and pp.26-30). An edition unworthy of the publisher, it was remaindered.
Oxford Mail, 25 August 1977, by Jayne Gilman
Western Evening Herald, 20 September 1977,
MPR, autumn 1977, no.5, pp.26–30, by Hugh Brogan
e. Another issue
Swindon: Book Club Associates 1977
Identical to (d) but for the BCA logo on the spine.
First paperback impression London: Granada 1980
Despite a change of title to Witchcraft in Britain, this is just another impression of (d) in a laminated paper cover 197 x 128 designed by Linda Garland. The defects of (d) are merely exacerbated: Old Chattox (p.102), after being blown up and bled off the page, is now chopped to fit the margins and loses even more of her hands. A travesty of the illustrations that the original publisher was so proud of in 1945.
Luton Evening Post, 25 October 1980 (‘splendidly ghoulish illustrations’)
Sussex Express, 5 December 1980, by Judith Glover
Second English edition, second impression London: Fitzhouse Books [an imprint
of Batsford] 1990
Black paper-covered board simulating cloth, 220 x 132, lettered in gilt down the spine. Laminated white dustwrapper printed in black, with portrait of ‘Agnes Waterhouse and her spotted cat’ in yellow on the front. Back flap of d/w, unchanged from (f), says front cover illustration is of Elizabeth Francis.
Reprinted by offset from a copy of the 1977 edition and not from the original films: the half-tone illustrations have degenerated to a grey blurr. Batsford were obviously too ashamed to put their own name on it. Internally identical to (f) except for the name of the publisher.
a. First edition
Stockholm (Sweden): Zephyr Books (The Continental Book Co.) 1946
Bound in pale khaki card covers 184 x 120 lettered in blue and red across the front, with a reproduction of the fish footman, and in blue across and down the spine. D/w as cover, with ‘The charm of Carrolls writing is intensified by the discerning drawings made specially for this edition by Mr Mervyn Peake.’ A more detailed bibliographical description of the book can be found in MPR 7:30.
There is a most informative site by Peter Andrén about Bonnier’s Zephyr Books.
Second edition; first English London: Allan Wingate 1954
Dark blue simulated cloth 190 x 128 lettered in gilt across the spine with a drawing of the mouse (from the backstrip of the d/w) on the spine. Another issue is bound in light blue and lettered in dark blue. Cream d/w lettered in red and green framed by a composite picture by MP of major characters from the book above a sleeping Alice (drawn 1954 for this ed. and signed in bottom right corner). Lettered in green across the backstrip, with the drawing of the mouse.
The title-page reproduces in red (reduced) the drawing of Alice chewing her little finger from the head of Chapter 1. Verso of title-leaf claims, ‘first published in 1954 by Allan Wingate’. It is true that this ed. differs slightly from (a): one drawing, of a hand holding a kitten from chapter 11 of T.L-G. in (a), was omitted; some of the illustrations were redrawn and others modified slightly - see MPR 7:26-29 and (for further details), Jabberwocky (The Journal of the Lewis Carroll Society), Summer 1979, Vol.8, No.3, pp.70-73. The size of the reproductions also differs from (a).
Foreword by Malcolm Muggeridge. (A bibliographical description appeared in MPR 7:30.)
The d/w claims that the illustrating ‘has been a labour of love which has occupied several years’; this is belied by a letter to the TLS from the publisher of (a): ‘an agreement with Peake was made early in 1945’ (TLS, 17 March 1972, p.308). So he can have had a year at most in which to prepare the drawings.
Third edition; second English London: Methuen 1978
Dark blue cloth 240 x 160 with the sleeping figure of Alice from the d/w of (b), reversed L to R, stamped in gilt on the front, lower right. Title and author lettered in gilt down the spine. Blue-and-cream d/w follows that of (b) except that the mouse has disappeared from the backstrip, which is cream, lettered in black running down. The frame picture is repeated on the back of the d/w. Blue endpapers. Title-page repeats MPs 1954 d/w design. Foreword (‘About this Book’) by Brian Sibley. Printed on cream paper.
The d/w blurb relies heavily on that of (b), repeating the myth that MP ‘took several years to complete this work which he regarded as a labour of love.’
Bookseller, 15 July 1978, p.257
Times Educational Supplement, 24 November 1978, p.45 by Mary Hoffman
Financial Times, 25 November 1978, by Anthony Curtis
British Book News, December 1978, p.962, by Naomi Lewis (‘the White Knight clearly moves his imagination more than anything else in the book‘)
Women’ s Journal, December 1978, p.147 (‘classic edition for our times. MP’ s mystic imagination and dazzling draughtsman caught perfectly the spirit of Carroll’)
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 7 December 1978, by Terry Cross
Scotsman, 16 December 1978, by Isobel Murray (‘visual feast of the year‘)
Morning Telegraph (Sheffield), 15 March 1979 (‘a worthy successor to Tenniel’)
Jabberwocky, summer 1979, vol.8, no.3, pp.74–76, by John Davis
d. Facsimile impression;
first American New York: Schocken 1979
Red cloth 234 x 158 lettered in gilt down the spine. Same d/w as (c) except that the drawing is printed black on white and the central area lettered in black-and-red on biscuit cream; lettered in black on white down the backstrip. The frame picture has unfortunately been trimmed so that half the signature is lost – the same occurs on the title-page. Red endpapers. Reproduces the contents of (c) same size on white paper.
Fourth (limited) edition; third English with restored drawings Marlborough:
Libanus 2001 (further
Drawings only in a portfolio (100 copies); or book in solander box (60 copies); or book (120 copies) in light blue cloth 330 x 224, titled Peakes Alice in gilt across the front and down the spine.
Reproduces the illustrations original size, with brief extract from the book on facing page.
Fifth edition; fourth English London: Bloomsbury 2001
Two vols, sold separately or in an ivory paper-covered slipcase 201 x 135 lettered in various colours across the spine. Each vol in ivory paper-covered boards 192 x 130; Wonderland title lettered in gilt down the spine, author and illustrator across; ivory d/w lettered in black and brick orange across the spine. Same presentation for Looking-Glass except that the colour is dark violet.
Uses the digitized drawings from Libanus (B8e).
g. Fifth edition; first English paperback impression, in one volume London: Bloomsbury 2003
All the original artwork for Alice was acquired by the British Library in the spring of 2010.
First edition London: Faber 1946
A sumptuous production, bound in darkest blue buckram (some copies black buckram) a mere 293 by 216, with a picture of Sita, from p., stamped in red on the front, and the title (on a red ground in a gilt frame), author and publisher stamped and lettered in gilt down the spine. Duck-egg grey d/w with the same portrait of Sita (at a less dejected angle than elsewhere) above the title (in red), author (in black) and ‘With drawings by Mervyn Peake’ (in red). Blurb on front flap.
Top-edges gilt; fore-edges rough-trimmed; lower-edges uncut. Title-page reads ‘OF RAVANA / THE DARK ANGEL / AND HIS PARADISE AT LANKA / QUEST FOR SITA / OF HANUMAN / AND THE DIVINE VULTURES / JATAYUS AND SAMPATI / BY / MAURICE COLLIS / WITH DRAWINGS BY / MERVYN PEAKE’ plus a vignette of Sita.
Loosely inserted is a slip reading, ‘This edition, printed on English handmade paper, is limited to 500 copies for sale.’ The price was 84s (four guineas).
The illustrations were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in November 1945.
Time & Tide, 1 June 1946, p.520, by Martin Tindal
Facsimile impression (reduced); first American New York: John Day 1947
More commercial but nonetheless a handsome production in a slightly lighter shade of blue buckram 219 x 154, with the same portrait stamped in red on the front, and the title, author and publisher lettered in gilt across the spine. Grey d/w with portrait of Sita from p. between author (in black) and title (red) followed by subtitle and ‘Here is the central section of the Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, as seen through the imagination of two master craftsmen’ (in black) and ‘WITH DRAWINGS BY MERVYN PEAKE’ (in red). Blurb on front flap differs from (a).
Internally the book is identical to (a) except for the change of publisher and the reduction in size: at three-quarters the size of (a), it is still generously proportioned (13.5 point leading) and easy on the eye, which says much for the scale of (a). Fore-edges uncut.
Hartford Courant (Conn.), 17 August 1947 (‘with illustrations perfectly married to the text, this is a literary work of art‘)
Atlanta Journal (Ca.), 10 August 1947
Boston Globe (Mass.), 13 August 1947
First paperback impression New York: Capricorn 1965
Bound in laminated paper covers 203 x 131 with the original cover portrait (reversed L to R) in red on a yellow-grey ground, title remaining white, author and illustrator in red. Internally the same as (b) but now cramped because of the smaller trim size; some illustrations bleed. A poor substitute for the hardback editions, yet it has (or had) the virtue of making this magnificent series of illustrations more widely available.
Reprinted several times.
First edition London: Eyre & Spottiswoode 1946
Bound in bright lemon cloth 214 x 175 decorated top and bottom with stars between rules and with ‘GRIMMS / HOUSEHOLD / TALES / Illustrated by Mervyn Peake’ printed in dark green across the front. Across the spine reads ‘GRIMMS / HOUSEHOLD / TALES / * / Drawings / by / Mervyn / Peake’. The d/w reproduces (enlarged) part of the b&w illustration on p. of a boy and a girl on a griffin, with ‘GRIMMS / Household Tales / Drawings by / MERVYN PEAKE’ lettered in white on a pink ground. The wording across the spine of the d/w, lettered in black on pink, is the same as on the spine of the book.
Contains 60 drawings in b&w and five coloured plates, one of which is the double title-page 194 x 288 in green, yellow, brown and orange, lettered by MP. The colour plates face pages 53 (‘The Queen Bee’), 104 (‘The Many-Furred Creature’), 288 (‘Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs’) and 298 (‘Asphodel, or Cinderella’).
Observer, 27 October 1946, p.5, by J. C. T.
Scotsman, 21 November 1946, p.7
Tatler & Bystander, 27 November 1946, p.293, by Elizabeth Bowen (‘What an inspiration! . . . The conjunction of Grimm and Peake has resulted in a remarkable volume. . . . A book to snap up while it can still be had: unique, it should have a place in every collector’ s shelves.’)
John O’ London’ s Weekly, 29 November 1946, p.123, by Mary Crosbie
Time & Tide, 7 December 1946, pp.1189–90, by Maurice Collis (‘Grimm’ s Tales, though they call for some of his gifts, hardly extend his talent.‘)
Dublin Magazine, October–December 1947, N.S. vol.22, no.4, p.65, by Patricia Lynch
Reissue; first Canadian Toronto: Collins 1948
Imported copies of (a). Not seen.
Second edition London: Methuen 1973
Rich brown cloth 241 x 167 with ‘Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm’ lettered in gilt down the spine. Salmon pink d/w reproduces the left-hand side of the original title spread, with the title in a new window in the branches of the tree, using MPs lettering for the first two words. Picture of the Lion from ‘The Twelve Huntsmen’ on the back. Café au lait endpapers. The original title-page spread appears as the frontispiece, 213 x 312, preceding the title-page, the lines crispened by modern printing techniques. The title-page reproduces MPs lettering for ‘HOUSEHOLD / TALES’.
Contains 58 of the original 60 illustrations but omits the colour plates. For further details and reproductions of the missing drawings, see MPR 5:35-37.
TLS, 15 June 1973, p.688
Nursery World, 26 July 1973, (‘not suitable for younger children’)
Withenshawe Express & Recorder, 30 January 1975, by Margaret Stanway
First paperback edition London: Pan Books (Picador) 1977
Laminated paper cover 196 x 128 reproducing the left half of the original title-page with the word ‘TALES’ shifted into the branches of the tree – an elegant solution. But the colouring is less satisfactory. Lettered in black on white down the spine.
The book reproduces the contents of (c) slightly reduced in size (89%), with the pages renumbered to accommodate a new Introduction by Russell Hoban. Contains no colour plates.
Hereford Evening News, 11 June 1977, by C. S. (‘will be largely sought after for MP’ s whimsically grotesque illustrations‘)
Times Educational Supplement, 17 June 1977, p.39, by Marion Glastonbury (‘MP’ s images not only intensify the drama of suspense and climax but expose the characters’)
Yorkshire Post, 23 July 1977, by Michael Holman (‘superbly and sympathetically illustrated‘)
MPR, autumn 1977, no.5, pp.34–37, by Belinda Humfrey
Yorkshire Evening Press, 21 March 1978
Facsimile impression; first American New York: Schocken 1979
A slightly smaller version of (c), bound in orange cloth 270 x 747 with ‘Grimm HOUSEHOLD TALES Schocken’ in gilt down the spine, using MPs lettering for the middle two words. D/w in the same shade of salmon pink as (b) and with same design except for the lettering down the backstrip, which follows that of the spine. Dark brown endpapers. Reproduces the contents of (c), slightly reduced in size (95%), minus the reproduction of the original title-page.
Simultaneously issued in paperback 201 x 134; the soft cover follows the design of the hardback d/w.
f. Facsimile impression: London: British Library 2011
Bound in bright red cloth the same size as (a) lettered in gilt down the spine, with grey endpapers. The closest you can get to the first edition: text and images offset from (a), only the colour plates are greyscale – but they are also reprinted in colour (as a multi-frontispiece) as is the original titlepage spread. New Introduction by Sarah Waters.
First edition London: The Folio Society 1948
Bound in cloth, 221 x 141, divided vertically half black, half cream, with the outline of the shapeless figure from p. stamped centrally in gilt on the front; title, author and publishers device lettered in gilt across the spine. The d/w is similarly designed, half black, half yellow, but with the shapeless figure reversed L to R; title and author lettered in yellow and black across the front above the figure; ‘ILLUSTRATIONS BY MERVYN PEAKE / INTRODUCTION BY JOHN HAMPDEN’ lettered in yellow and black below, title, author and publishers device lettered in yellow across the backstrip; blurb on rear flap; advertisements on back. Also reported in a wholly yellow/cream d/w, without the black on the left.
Twelve illustrations, including frontispiece facing the title-page, printed in black and yellow.
Blog review by
Brian Sibley, 19 November 2006
Another issue; first American New York: Duchesne 1948
Presumed to be imported copies of (a). Not seen.
Facsimile impression London: Folio Press and Dent 1974
A photo-litho facsimile of (a) bound in black cloth 223 x 146, the same figure stamped centrally on the front (rather coarsened), half in outline as before, half in solid gilt. Author lettered in gilt across the spine, title down, publisher across. Seen with two different d/ws:
(i) yellow paper lettered in black with author and title across the front, and the shapeless figure, half yellow, half black, in the bottom right-hand corner, same size as on cover; lettered in black on backstrip with author and publishers device running across and title running down; blurb on rear flap differs from (a).
(ii) Transparent front and back, with card flaps identical to those of the paper d/w.
Book Exchange, February 1975
edition London: Folio Society 1994
Not seen by GPW. Pete Bellotte reports: ‘Completely reset and printed on Hamilton Wove paper by The Bath Press, Avon and bound by them in the style of the first edition. Slip case is entirely black with a slight curvature on ends for ease of removal. Paste-down endpaper at beginning of book is cream as is following free endpaper whereas paste-down at back of book is black and preceded by two regular endpapers followed by one black endleaf.’
N.B. There is another unpublished series of seven illustrations to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (showing other scenes) that Peake made with pastels on large sheets of thick paper or card (up to 465 x 592 mm, almost 24 inches!). They came up for sale in December 1971 and were acquired by the R. L. Stevenson centre in the US called Silverado.
The proof of this book sports a title page illustration that is quite different a parrot (‘Captain Flint’) perched on the top of a crutch (reproduced on the back of PS vol 9 no. iv). The publishers must have decided it was more appropriate to show Long John Silver himself, rather than objects associated with him. The faces of the sailors in the illustration on p.199 are also slightly different, and the leftmost sailor has gained a fly button in the published version.
First edition London: Eyre & Spottiswoode 1949
Bright blue cloth binding (also reported in ‘royal blue’) 220 x 147 with title, ornament, and author lettered in silver on a black lettering piece across the spine; publisher also lettered in silver across the base of the spine. Top-edges blue. The bright red d/w, lettered in white, reproduces the illustration of Silver looking over his shoulder that heads Part 6, p..
Contains 41 illustrations (of which a well-known depiction of Blind Pew) including the title-page portrait of Long John Silver.
Scotsman, 24 November 1949 (‘his drawings – tense, eerie and dramatic – abate nothing of the power of the narrative’)
Another issue London: Eyre & Spottiswoode 1949
Light blue – i.e. slightly darker than (a) – paper-covered boards 222 x 146, with title and author clumsily stamped and lettered in gilt across the spine (no mention of publisher). D/w identical to (a). Internally identical to (a). Top-edges uncoloured. Peter Allan comments: ‘The amateurish boards are amazing (Id almost say impossible) from a major publisher – especially since they had the brasses ready-made for the spine blocking. It looks to me as though they sold off sheets to someone like Woolworths... If so, at what date? And were both issues on sale at the same time? I suspect they were.’
Another issue London: Eyre & Spottiswoode 1949
Copies of (b) bound in red.
Second edition London: Methuen 1976
Bound in yellow ochre cloth 241 x 162 lettered in gilt down the spine. The front of the d/w, lettered in black on red, reproduces part of the illustration (enlarged) from ch.33 of Silver straining at a rope between his teeth; on the back is the picture of the pirates swarming the palisade. Cream endpapers. This ed. reprints all the illustrations of (a) with some minor changes in the order. They are also very slightly smaller in size, leaving rather wide margins through which the text on the back can sometimes be seen. For further discussion of this ed. see MPR 3:21-26.
Times, 14 July 1976, p.7 (‘one of the few editions that have come near to meeting the demands of the author’ s text‘)
Sunday Times, 29 August 1976, p.29 (‘extraordinary pen-and-ink illustrations . . . one of the finest draughtsmen of his day’)
New Statesman, 3 September 1976, p.311, by Hilary Spurling
TLS, 1 October 1976, p.1245
Children’ s Book Review, October 1976, vol.vi, final issue, p.5, by Valerie Alderson (‘good to have it reissued‘)
MPR, autumn 1976, no.3, pp.21–26, by Hugh Brogan
Books & Bookmen, December 1976, p.75, by Auberon Waugh
Brentwood & Billericay Argus, 16 December 1976 (‘disturbingly powerful illustrations’)
Daily Mail, 2 July 1977, by June Southworth
Bookseller, 30 July 1977, p.445. ([Sir Bernard Miles, opening the Children’s Books of the Year Exhibition:] ‘one of the great books of the world‘)
Contemporary Review, January 1978, vol.232, no.1344, p.48, by Rosalind Wade (‘evocative though often frightening illustrations’)
Facsimile impression; first American New York: Schocken 1979
Simultaneously published in hardback and paperback; the hardback is 211 x 146 in light brown cloth lettered in gilt down the spine, following the design of (d). Café-au-lait endpapers. D/w as (d), reduced to 80%.
The text is litho offset from (d), slightly reduced (90%), but the size of the illustrations remains unchanged: they fill the text area (no see-through margins!) and thus gain in impact.
The soft cover of the paperback, measuring 203 x 135, repeats the hardback d/w design.
Third edition Everymans Library, New York, Toronto and London 1992
Royal blue cloth cover, 210 x 153, lettered in gilt across the front and the spine, with paste-on portrait of Long John Silver in black and white on the front. Matching endpapers printed in black-and-white diamond pattern with vignettes and (front only) imitation book plate.
The British edition reads ‘EVERYMANS / LIBRARY / CHILDRENS / CLASSICS’ across the spine and at foot of title-page, The American (and Canadian) edition adds ‘KNOPF’ at the foot of the spine and ‘Alfred A. Knopf New York Toronto’ at the foot of the title page. Both printed in Germany.
Published in October 1992 at $12.95. British price and number of copies not known.
First edition London: Methuen 1949
Bound in creamy-grey cloth 222 x 140 with a prancing figure by MP (taken from the illus. on p., ‘The small men were holding high carnival’) stamped in red on the front (bottom right). Title, author and publisher stamped and lettered in red across the spine. The d/w is cream and reproduces in grey the illus. from p., overprinted with title, author and illustrator in red.
Also seen bound in grey-blue without the prancing figure stamped on the front possibly a second impression.
Contains 8 full-page line illustrations by MP.
First edition London: Heirloom Library 
Orange cloth 211 x 138 printed with palm trees and ships in alternating red and green; title and author (with initial R. as above) lettered in gilt across the spine between double rules on a green lettering-piece followed by ‘DRAWlNGS / BY / MERVYN PEAKE’, and publisher (at the foot), both lettered in green. Top-edges green; red-and-green headband to spine; also seen with red-and-yellow headband.
D/w lettered in red with green-and-yellow picture (not by MP) framing part of the frontispiece, ‘We bring off the animals from the wreck’, by MP. Title and author (with initial), followed by ‘DRAWINGS / BY / MERVYN / PEAKE’, and publisher (at the foot), all lettered in green across the back-strip. On the back are advertisements for other titles in the collection. Endpapers light turquoise blue with vignettes from the illustrations in brown with added orange colouring (?not by MP). On the title-page the author is Johann Wyss (without initial R.) and the publisher at the foot of the title-leaf reads ‘THE HEIRLOOM LIBRARY’, There is a figure 3 bottom left of the final page.
Second impression London: Heirloom Library [n.d.]
A slightly larger book by 2-3 mm in height and 3-5 in width, identical in design to (a); but (probably as a result of an accident with the type), the running-title on pages 21, 23 and 27 is in larger type, that on p.29 has the last letter in the correct smaller face and p.33 has the misprint ‘SHIPWRECKD!’ in the large face. The caption to the illustration on p.114 misprints ‘cargoe’, and the pagination is not set in the same typeface as (a). There is no figure 3 at the foot of the final page. The title-page is unchanged. Bound in paper-covered boards imitating cloth, with top-edges green or blue-green, with a red-and-yellow headband to the spine. Endpapers several shades lighter than (a).
Third impression London: Heirloom Library Ltd [n.d.]
As (b) but with the title-page revised to read ‘LONDON / HEIRLOOM LIBRARY LIMITED’. Seen bound in cloth, with top-edges red or green; no headband. Endpapers pale green.
Reissue; first American edition New York: Chanticleer Press Inc. 
Seen only in photocopy. ‘Printed in Gt. Britain by Harrison & Sons,’ (on verso of title leaf) so American only in that it was made specifically for that market but not manufactured there.
Another ‘American’ issue New York: Albany Classics [n.d.]
Bound in cloth decorated as (a); top-edges blue; red-and-yellow headband. Internally the same as (b), except that the title-page is modified to read ‘LONDON / THE HEIRLOOM LIBRARY / NEW YORK / ALBANY CLASSICS’.
Second edition London: Treasure Library [Contact Publications, 1955]
Decorated paper-covered boards imitating cloth, 213 x 141; basic colour blue; multiple dark blue and red borders surrounding pale blue; in the centre is a ‘TL’ device lettered in gilt on a dark blue ground surrounded with red decorations. Title, author (without initial) and TL device lettered in gilt across decorated spine. Top-edges blue. (Another issue: without coloured top-edges.) The blue-and-red d/w reproduces the top two thirds of the illustration facing p.129 (‘Fritz and Jack climb the cocoa-nut tree’); title, author and publisher (no device) lettered across the backstrip. Blue-and-red decorated endpapers incorporating the TL device and a window reading ‘THIS BOOK BELONGS TO’. Text entirely reset; captions added to all the half-page illustrations.
First edition London: Falcon Press 1952
Dark sand-coloured cloth 189 x 128 lettered in gilt across the spine: ‘THE / BOOK / OF / LYONNE / [design] / BURGESS / DRAKE’ with ‘[design] / FALCON’ at the foot. Sand-yellow d/w lettered in dark red with picture of Lyonne in yellow-and-red from facing p.58; the backstrip, also lettered in dark red, adds ‘Illustrated / by / Mervyn / Peake’ after the authors name and, at the foot, the publishers colophon, ‘FALCON PRESS’ lettered around a falcon instead of design and ‘FALCON’.
Illustrated with 14 line drawings, including a frontispiece facing the title-page which incorporates a printed text: ‘Illustrated with eight coloured plates / and line drawings by / MERVYN PEAKE’. The plates are tipped in facing pages 42, 58, 86, 116, 126, 152, 182, and 258. The book is dedicated ‘To / Sebastian and Fabian Peake’.
This issue has been seen with a typed label stuck onto the colophon page, reading ‘Owing to printing difficulties / the coloured illustrations / have not been completed in / accordance with the design of / the artist’. This accounts, perhaps, for the production of another issue (b) with the illustrations in different places, the picture of Lynne himself being moved back to face the title-page.
Another issue London: Falcon Press 1952
Blue paper-covered boards 189 x 129 with, lettered in black across the spine, ‘The / Book of / LYONNE / BURGESS / DRAKE’ and ‘FALCON PRESS’ across the foot (no design). The d/w is the same as (a), except that the swelled rule on the back has changed slightly. The plates are tipped in facing pages (numbers in parentheses show the corresponding location in (a)): title-page(58), 32(42), 64(152), 96(86), 129(182), 160(126), 192(116), 209(258).
Reissue; first American edition New York: British Book Centre 1952
Presumed to be imported copies of (a); not seen.
First edition London: Allan Wingate 1953
Light green cloth 203 x 132 with the vignette of the blackbird from the title-page stamped in gilt on the front; title, author and publisher lettered in gilt down the spine with the same vignette of the blackbird (reduced) in the middle. White d/w lettered in black within a green border; reproduces the frontispiece drawing in black, yellow and green. The blurb on the front flap concludes with the information that MP designed the book.
Contains 16 line illustrations, including the title-page vignette which is repeated on p.12, several of them set in the margin encroaching slightly on the text area.
b. Another issue
London: Allan Wingate 1953
Light blue, paper-covered boards 190 x 126 simulating cloth, stamped and lettered as in (a) but in black; the reduced height requires the words on the spine to be more closely spaced. The d/w is the same as for (a), trimmed to fit the smaller cover. Unfortunately, the tighter trimsize causes some of the marginal illustrations to bleed – on p.20, for instance, the left side of the arm is missing.
PART ONE Stockholm: Radiotjänst (Radio Sweden) 1954
Cream card covers 142 x 95, lettered in black and red (‘TOM THUMB’) on the front; reproduces the illustration from p.15 (reduced); spine carries only the words ‘TOM THUMB’ lettered down in black between red-coloured ornaments. (The red pales to a lime colour if the book is left in sunlight.) On the back cover is a summary printed in black below the title in red. Text: pages 9-107; English-Swedish vocabulary: pages 109-126.
Contains 23 illustrations, of which 13 are full page. The first letter of each chapter is a decorated capital by Peake – for the 28 chapters of the two books, there are 13 different capital letters.
A second impression (‘andra upplagan’) has been reported.
TWO Stockholm: Radiotjänst (Radio Sweden) 1955
Matching cream card covers 142 x 95, lettered in black and blue (‘TOM THUMB’) above an illustration that does not appear elsewhere in either book; spine carries the words ‘TOM THUMB’ lettered down in black between blue ornaments and the figure 2 across the foot. On the back is a summary printed in black and blue beneath the title in blue. Text pages 9-; English-Swedish vocabulary: pages 113-134.
Contains 25 illustrations (including cover picture), of which 75 are full page. A decorated capital opens each chapter – see Part One, above.
This edition has been reported in hard covers, but no confirmed sighting has come my way.
‘My first contact with him was when a friend of mine recommended I write to Quentin Crisp – this was in 1946 – and ask him to write an article for a magazine I was rather temerariously launching in Bristol, called Facet. Well, Crisp wrote an article on Peake which you may have seen. [It was reprinted in MPR 14.]
‘Years later I was working for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and had written, for my own amusement, a kind of serial trying to evoke, even at cost of pastiche, the general atmosphere of English childrens books I had read as a child. And a friend of mine got the radio people here to use it as a text for a language course on English idioms. Hence the vocabulary at the end of the book. This happened two summers running – the books came out, I believe, in something like 60,000 copies. Well, needing someone to illustrate Part I, I wrote to Peake and asked him to. I believe he was already beginning to suffer from the disease which was so fatal, because one or two of the cognoscenti here observed that there were errors in some of the drawings. Be that as it may, the drawings produced the authentically English impression I was looking for – Peake is about as British as can be in his drawing style, and his imagination too is utterly sunk in what might be called the ‘ghosty aspect of Britishness, dont you agree?’ (Letter to GPW, 15th November 1981)
a. First edition
London: Cresset Press 1955
Grey cloth 190 x 120 with the title on the front lettered in gilt on blue in a gilt frame; author and publisher lettered across the head and foot of the spine in gilt, the short title running down. Green d/w lettered in black and white, with the illustration from p.95 (enlarged) in black in a white circle; the illustration from p. is printed in a white rectangle on the back.
Apart from these, there is only one other illustration, full page, on p..
First edition London: Oxford University Press 1957
The laminated paper-covered boards 190 x 130 are printed with vertical and horizontal decorative rules, stars, etc. in black and salmon pink; across the front, the title is lettered in black, the author in salmon pink. ‘BOOK 1’ and author lettered in black across the top of the spine; title runs up in a window.
Contains 6 full-page illustrations, four of which have been reprinted in Peake Studies.
First edition London: Victor Gollancz 1957
Blue, imitation-cloth boards 165 x 127 with the illustration from p.28 stamped (reduced and reversed L to R) in gilt on the front; title lettered in gilt up the spine. Yellow d/w lettered in black (uniform with B6a) with the price printed on the back: published at 6/-; later issues are 4/-, 3/6 and even . . . 20p.
b. Second edition
London: Pan Books 1981
Bound in with Prayers and Graces: see B6b.
First edition London: Faber 1959
Bright red muslin-grain paper-covered boards 214 x 156 with the illustration from p.51 (reduced) stamped in black on the front; title, author and publisher lettered in black down the spine. White d/w designed and illustrated by MP (not present elsewhere in the book) in black line, coloured yellow, blue, and green; lettered in black. On the back-strip, which is yellow, title and author lettered in black, publisher in green, running down; on the back of the d/w is the ‘pot of gold’ illustration from p.21.
Contains 7 line illustrations, 4 of them full page.
Published at 9/6 according to the inside of the first issue d/w, but copies can be seen with 60p (i.e. decimal currency) stamped on the front flap so, although Fabers state quite clearly that there was no second printing of the book, it looks as though there was a late binding of at least one batch.
a. First edition
London: The Folio Society 1961
Brown canvas 253 x 165 decorated top and bottom with a design in darker brown and grey (which looks almost brown). Author, title and publisher lettered in gilt on brown lettering-pieces across the spine. Top-edges blue. Issued in a paper-covered cardboard slipcase imitating blue leather.
Contains 24 full-page illustrations in two colours. Three different second colours are used.
First edition London: Gordon, Spilstead 1980
Bound in shocking pink Tussah silk 222 x 143, lettered in gilt down the spine. Black endpapers. Issued in a slipcase edged in black cloth and with matching pink paper-covered sides printed in black with portraits of Oscar Wilde (front) and Mervyn Peake (rear) by MG. An edition of 200 numbered copies printed on Glastonbury Antique Laid paper and signed by MG.
Reissue; first trade edition London: Sidgwick & Jackson 1980
Bound in black cloth 224 x 143, with title (only) lettered in gilt down the spine. Laminated cream d/w reproduces the two tigers from p. in maroon; title and ‘subtitle’ lettered in maroon in a window top right; title and publisher lettered in maroon down the backstrip; reproduces the Centaur from p. on the back.
Contains 15 illustrations executed with a Chinese brush and one title-page design.
Burlington Magazine, June 1981, vol.cxxiii, no.939, p.386 (‘a fluent production‘)
Reissue (with poems translated into French) Rouen (France): Elisabeth Brunet,
A thin paperback edition that closely follows (b) in design, with a postface by the translator, Patrick Reumaux.
First edition London: Methuen 1983
Blue simulated cloth cover 251 x 186, white d/w printed in orange with ‘MERVYN PEAKE’ in white and, within a white frame, ‘Sketches from BLEAK HOUSE’ in blue above the illustration from p.29 of Mrs Pardiggle and her brood. At foot, ‘Text selected and introduced by / Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen’ also in blue.
Contains some 60 sketches to illustrate Bleak House by Charles Dickens, for an edition that was never published. With numerous extracts from the novel to accompany the illustrations; introduction and explanatory captions by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen.
The finished drawings were exhibited at Dickens House (London) during the summer of 2003 and can be seen here. The sketches have apparently been mislaid, and we can only hope that they will one day turn up in Methuen’s archives...
Listener, 16 August 1984, by Brian Sibley, p. 24
First edition Paris: Denoël 2010
Genuine black cloth cover, 238 x 185, overprinted with ‘Mervyn Peake – Michael Moorcock / The Sunday Books / (Les Livres du Dimanche)’ in white above a picture of two pirates side by side (from p.44) in colour. Lettered in black up the orange-red spine: ‘[publisher’s logo] The Sunday Books Mervyn Peake – Michael Moorcock". The endpapers reproduce a design by MP in black and yellow, with a blue wash at the edge of the left-hand side. No d/w. Contents: pages 10–30 Introduction by Michael Moorcock; 34–136 Three stories by Michael Moorcock with numerous pictures by MP; 141 brief bio of MP; 141 brief bio of Michael Moorcock.
This delightfully odd book calls for some explanation. While the Peake family were living on Sark in the late 1940s, each of MP’s two sons had a notebook in which MP drew or painted a picture every Sunday. Sometimes he did a painting on a separate sheet and pasted it into place. There was not necessarily any connection between the pictures from one week to the next. Generally they were simply what the boys asked for – an aeroplane, a car, or a train, for instance. Being the sons of MP, they often requested pirates. What Michael Moorcock has done is to write stories around a character called Captain Crackers (from a pirate so named in one of MP’s pictures). So this is a collection of Peake pictures interlinked by Moorcock. The images are not in the original order nor are they always reproduced as originally drawn or painted; sometimes the designer selected to show parts of them separately. The overall design, however, is most successful. Having found a Parisian publisher before a British one, the book has appeared first in French translation (by Lili Sztajn).
31 October 2010 on a site called Scifi-Universe, by Manu B. (‘une très belle oeuvre à tous points de vues (saluons le travail de mise en page et le design de la couverture) et un magnifique objet de collection’)
14 November 2010 on a site called La Fantasy au quotidien, by Gillossen (‘Une vraie petite merveille à conserver précieusement’)
16 November 2010 on a blog called Welcome to Nebalia (‘Superbe témoignage de la créativité d’un auteur comme de la tendresse d’un père, et enfin de l’amour exacerbé d’un fils « spirituel », The Sunday Books touche droit au cœur, et ne saurait laisser indifférent.’)
Le Cafard Cosmique, 1 January 2011
Une page lue chaque soir, 10 January 2011
Second edition New York: Overlook, and London: Duckworth 2011
The same book, with the same design, binding etc.(from the same printer), with Moorcock’s texts in English.
© G. Peter Winnington 2012