[VELLUM] Miss MITFORD (author). C.E. BROCK (illustrator). Our Village. London: J.M. Dent & Co. 1904.
8vo. Publisher's cream vellum elaborately blocked in gilt to spine and upper board, decorated green endpapers, top edges gilt, others uncut, with original red ribbon marker, preserved in fine custom-made ivory cloth-covered slipcase with satin ribbon; pp. xv + [i] + 309 + [i]; prettily illustrated with pictorial title-page, frontispiece guarded by a tissue, and 23 additional delicate coloured plates by Charles Brock; a fine and exceptional copy with only insignificant mottling to upper joint.
First edition illustrated thus, published in Dent's English Idylls Series. This is the edition de luxe published in the extravagant, and superior, gift binding.
Five series of writings entitled Our Village were published in book form between 1824 and 1832, although the first collection originally appeared in The Lady's Magazine in 1819. They were sketches of idealised village scenes and characters based on life in Three Mile Cross, a hamlet near Reading in Berkshire. The prolific and successful poet, novelist, and dramatist, Mary Russell Mitford's description of village cricket is documented as the first major piece of fictional writing on the sport ("Barclay's World of Cricket", E.W. Swanton, Collins 1980). Her writings are renowned for their lively wit and spontaneous humour.