SEWELL, Anna (author). Cecil ALDIN (illustrator). Black Beauty. London; Jarrold Publishers (London) Limited. Circa 1930.
4to. Original rich olive green cloth pictorially gilt, top edges forest green, preserved in white pictorial dustwrapper; pp. [iv], v-viii + 291; with 18 fine coloured plates by Aldin; externally clean and sharp, and near fine, with gleaming gilt and a bruise to bottom forecorner of lower board, internally equally clean with only light speckling to fore-edges of book block and a neat gift inscription, dated 1938 to half-title, protected by a pleasing dustwrapper in unusually complete condition with light dusting and rubbing, fraying and chipping to spine ends and edges with neat invisible tape repair to verso, the longest being an angled closed tear to bottom edge of upper panel (55mm) and an abraded silver star sometime onlaid to spine, to obscure the printed price.
Early Aldin edition, being the Jarrolds edition as opposed to the cheaper Boots The Chemist reprint; first issued with Aldin's illustrations in 1912. Books advertised on the lower panel of the dustwrapper here date from the early 1920s. Jarrolds were the original publishers of this timeless and groundbreaking animal classic, in 1877. Artwork was added over time by various illustrators but Aldin's version has proved the most popular. This is one of the most frequently mis-catalogued of the illustrated classics, with early Aldin editions invariably quoted as firsts on the basis of the Jarrolds imprint. Just as another classic, Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies, changed society's treatment of child workers so Black Beauty, the most famous animal story penned for children, has been embraced and recommended from its earliest printings by animal protection charities, and revolutionised human treatment of working creatures, in particular.