AUSTEN, Jane (author). Hugh THOMSON (illustrator). Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen 1895.
8vo.; original darkest green pictorial cloth elaborately and stunningly blocked in gilt to a peacock design by Hugh Thomson to both spine and upper board, all edges gilt, original dark green endpapers; pp. xxvii, -476, [i]; prettily illustrated with 160 illustrations in line (including headpieces and tailpieces) by Hugh Thomson; an uncommonly bright copy with lavish gilt only slightly dulled to spine, a tiny split (4mm) to head of spine and a couple of closed nicks (3mm) to heel, a weak bruise to top edge at upper joint and 3 very short and barely noticeable splits to both joints (each circa 7mm), cracking to inner hinges (though sound), internally very good indeed with a neat contemporary gift inscription, dated 1897, to half-title, retaining fine original frontispiece tissue, stock lightly toned as usual and one minor and narrow pale greyish mark to text page 390, but otherwise fresh.
Second edition illustrated by Hugh Thomson, issued six months after the first thus, which was published in October 1894. This is the first fully-illustrated edition of what is generally considered to be the most popular novel in the English language. The artwork throughout is entirely integrated with the text and brings the story to life in a way unmatched by any other artist.
This is the renowned "Peacock Edition", named for its extravagant Victorian gilt cloth binding, which is often considered to be the most aesthetically pleasing trade binding design of the period. Hugh Thomson's whimsical and sympathetic style is now as closely associated with the works of Austen as is that of E.H. Shepard with the nursery classics by A.A. Milne. Original artwork for this edition is hung in Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen's home near Alton, in Hampshire, where she spent the final 8 years of her life, and where she wrote, revised, and made ready for publication all six of her novels and the fragment Sanditon.