DULAC, Edmund (illustrator). Mary CRARY (author). The Daughters of the Stars. London; Hatchard & Co. 1939.
4to. Original cream vellum-backed grey cloth boards, leather spine label lettered gilt, untrimmed at fore- and lower edges, dark blue ribbon marker, preserved in original yellow pictorial dustwrapper with the original unprinted glassine; pp. [x] + 189; illustrated with 2 fine coloured plates by Dulac, decorative scrolls throughout, sun and moon designs to limitation leaf, all by Dulac; a fine copy, both internally and externally, protected by a fine original glassine and yellow pictorial jacket with overall dust-soiling and light marking, chipping to head of spine with an associated short closed tear (20mm), nicking to corners, and small loss to top fore-corner of upper panel (20 x 10mm).
First edition de luxe, limited to only 500 numbered copies (of which this is 155), signed by both Dulac and the author. This publication has an interesting history: it was almost swallowed up by the outbreak of the Second World War and had to be rushed into print even though Dulac had only completed two paintings. It was also distributed in the United States and sold at Brentano's. Copies marketed this way were stamped, on the verso of the title, "Made and Printed in Great Britain/At the Surrey Fine Art Press", as is the case with this example. Copies of the book that remained unsold were later covered, over the glassine, by a yellow dustwrapper priced at $4.00 (as here).
The fairy tale was well promoted at the time with Hatchards giving over a window display to its presentation. It was also reviewed in the U.S. as "... full of grace, beauty, wit, humor and charm" with Dulac's typically mystical blue and silver paintings generally acknowledged as adding to its appeal. The author's own mother was one of the book's most fiercest promoters, comparing her daughter's writing genius with that of Dickens. (Hughey: Edmund Dulac, His Book Illustrations. 91).