First editions, first printings. Original blue cloth lettered in gilt to spines, both volumes with a Peake illustration stamped in gilt to the front panel. A near fine set, the bindings square and firm, the contents, except for a neat owner inscription and date in ink to the front free endpaper of the first volume, bright and clean throughout. There are a handful of spots to the upper edge of the second volume. In notably bright wrappers, both a little toned to spines (spreading to the rear panel of the second volume), with a touch of soiling (notably to folds) and a few light spots to the second volume. There is a little loss to the spine tips of the earlier volume which have been neatly patched from the verso with paper tape and coloured pink to match the original colour. Corners minimally rubbed. Not price-clipped; both volumes priced to spines (2/6 and 6/- net), the later volume also priced to its front flap. Altogether, a lovely set of first editions.
These two pocket-sized volumes are essentially commonplace books containing witty quotes in verse and prose in the form (or on the theme) of prayers and graces. The sources span centuries: some are anonymous, some traditional, some by famous authors (a random flick through brings up Mark Twain, Robert Burns, Robert Herrick, an extract from the Daily Press ). What binds the volume together are the wonderful Mervyn Peake line drawings facing each page of text. The first volume was a huge wartime success; according to the jacket of the second volume, the first "was 'the' Christmas gift book for 1944, selling close on 40,000 at its first fling".
Stock code: 22003