The Dipsy Chanty

Book courtesy of Stephen & Paulette Modiano. Pictures and note courtesy of Richard Blacher. Description courtesy of Paul Jackson.

The Dipsy Chanty and Other Selected Poems

 by Rudyard Kipling, 1898

#30 of 60 Illumined by Clara Schlegel

The book measures 8" x 5" and has 90 pages.  The body of text is Antiqua Old Style and 950 copies were printed on Van Gelder handmade paper and bound in decorated suede. An unknown number of the suede bindings had sterling silver corners. McKenna states that 100 copies were specially illuminated and speculates that the illumination was only hand embellishment of the Lombardic initials in gold. While this is true for some copies, these pictures seem to dispel that notion. It may be that 100 were illuminated in that manner but 60 had additional illumination. As is normal with Roycroft Press books, there are disputes and conflicting reports as to the quantities printed and the accuracy of various limitation statements.

Note: This is an extraordinary book with over 35 hand-painted illustrations and embellishments. The book contains 26 of Kipling’s poems, embellished with gothic initials in blue and red. It is signed EH (Elbert Hubbard). The wonderful illustration of a ship on the first page is signed CS (Clara Schlegel) and she dates it 11/23/98. The book is 90 pages long, all secure and in bright and beautiful condition. The book is a treasure, both for its content, its printing style, and superb watercolor artworks.

Publication of this seemingly innocuous collection of Kipling’s verse probably did more to publicize the early work of the Roycrofters than any other single event prior to the phenomenal success of “A Message to Garcia.” Shortly after The Dipsy Chanty first appeared , Kipling filed a lawsuit against Hubbard, alleging that the book contained unauthorized changes in his poems. Due to Kipling’s immense popularity in America at this time, the suit was widely covered in both the trade media and the general press.

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