FIRST PUBLISHED EDITION, IN A MAGNIFICENT, ELABORATELY DECORATED, SANGORSKI AND SUTCLIFFE PERIOD BINDING.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its hardly less famous sequel Through the Looking Glass (1872), although ostensibly written for children... are unique among 'juveniles' in appealing equally if not more strongly to adults. Written by an Oxford don, a clergyman, and a professional mathematician, they abound in characters--the White Knight, the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty--who are part of everybody's mental furniture. And the philosophic profundity of scores, if not hundreds, of these characters' observations, long household words wherever English is spoken, gains mightily from the delicious fantasy of their setting.
"The first edition, familiarly known to book-collectors as 'the 1865 Alice', was printed at the Oxford University Press. This edition was at the last moment cancelled by the author, for whom Macmillan's were publishing 'on commission'... because of what was considered the poor printing of Sir John Tenniel's almost equally famous illustrations. The few early copies sent out were recalled; seemingly with fair success, since less than a score are known to survive today. The book was reprinted, by Clay, with the title-page re-dated 1866, and this constitutes the first regularly published edition" (Printing and the Mind of Man, 354).
The late nineteenth-century Sangorski and Sutcliffe binding is a stunning example from the premier bookbinders at the height of their craft. The front panel is superbly decorated with intricate gilt floral designs with highlights of inlaid red and cream morocco, mother-of-pearl heart corner pieces, and an exquisite Queen of Hearts shield and crown with red inlaid morocco at center. The spine features gilt-decorated leaf designs with inlaid morocco card symbols. The rear panel contains floral borders with inlaid morocco and red polished glass hearts at border corners. With finely decorated morocco dentelles with inlaid leather flowers, silk pastedowns and endpapers. All edges gilt.
London: Macmillan and Co., 1866. Octavo, early elaborately-decorated Sangorski and Sutcliffe full morocco. With half-title. Fine condition.