The Deserted Village W. W. Denslow
Book courtesy of Dick Blacher. Description and comment courtesy of Paul Jackson.
The Deserted Village
by Dr. Oliver Goldsmith, 1898
Drawings by William Wallace Denslow
Exceptionally Rare, One of Kind!
The book measures 11 1/4" x 8 5/8" and has 55 pages. The body of the text is in Bookman and 470 copies were printed in two colors on John Dickinson water marked paper with #'s 1-40 being specially illumined. McKenna specifies the printing as having been done on Whatman paper but both of mine are on Dickinson. It is bound in paper over boards. All copies have hand drawn initial letters. Additionally, 170 copies were printed on Japan Vellum and according to McKenna nine of these copies were specially illuminated. All copies were signed by or for Elbert Hubbard in his name. The book above is #27 of the specially illumined copies. The specially illumined copies of this book are listed in the 1899 catalog and sold for $10.00
Comment: The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith, printed by the Roycrofters in 1898 - Drawings by W. W. Denslow. This is a truly exceptional one of kind book. All the drawings and there are more than shown here, were by William Wallace Denslow. Denslow spent part of 1898 and part of 1899 at the Roycroft. In 1899 The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was published with Dens low's drawings and he left the Roycroft for the last time. We do know that Hubbard sent Denslow copy of what Hubbard referred to as the Goldsmith Essay i.e. The Deserted Village telling Denslow that it was going to reprinted on Japan Vellum with plenty of free space so the artist a chance, this is noted on page 170 of As Bees in Honey Drown by Charles Hamilton. We also know that in 1898 Denslow went back to Chicago and that he did do some work for the Roycroft by mail. My guess and it is only a guess at this time is that the work Denslow did in Chicago was probably for the most part just the drawings and that the Roycroft illuminators of the time i.e. Bertha C. Hubbard, Clara Schlegel and Annie McMillan probably then hand colored those drawings. All the drawings in this book were done in pencil and it is truly a very rare find. Why was the book never illumined. Some people say it was not finished but I'm not really agreeing with that. The drawings were never inked in or water colored but the book was bound. The water color illustrations that are in the Roycroft books were done on the pages before binding. This is an original period binding, so my feeling is that somebody wanted the book as it was. Pure Denslow, no water colors by other artisans. Many people say that Denslow did not get to East Aurora until 1898, but Hot Stuff which is illustrated by Denslow was printed and bound in 1897. Opinions?
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