Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #96 begins on 20 Jan 2022

US Auction #9 has ended

Timlin, William Mitcheson (author, calligrapher and artist)

The Ship that Sailed to Mars ([1923])

Published: George G Harrap, London, No date [1923]

Edition: First

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Quarter-bound in vellum, with gilt lettering and design to the spine, and grey boards, with embossed black lettering to the upper panel. In addition to the plain grey card endpapers, the book has 96 grey card leaves - 48 colour illustrations and 48 text panels - pasted to the right-hand faces.

Timlin, who was born and had his early art training in England, came to South Africa in 1908 at the age 20. He spent most of the remaining 31 years of his life in Kimberley, working as an architect (Kimberley Boys' High School and other notable buildings) and artist, turning out, according to Wikipedia, a large number of watercolour fantasies in addition to oils, pastels, etchings and illustrations for periodicals - as well as at least one other illustrated book.

In 1921 Timlin began his work on "The Ship" as an educational amusement for his young son. Two years later he submitted the pages to a London publisher, who, instead of typesetting the text, published it with the artist's own calligraphy.

In his book on 20th century children's books, Alan Horne described "The Ship" as "a masterpiece . . . the most original and beautiful children's book of the 1920s".

CONDITION NOTES. Internally this 90-year-old copy is much better than average - all panels are bright and clean, there are no ownership or other marks, and only three leaves have small tears - the longest 3 cm. The page-edge gilding has browned. The binding, as is the case with most other copies that have not been rebound, has loosened, but not markedly. There is a crack at the back endpaper, but the hinges are unsplit. The boards are worn at all edges and corners. The vellum covers are rubbed and flaked and the spine is sunned, with the top crushed and the foot having a triangular 2 x 2 x 2 cm loss of material.

The images concentrate on the first part - "The Building of the Ship".

This is a complete and internally excellent copy of a book by a South African artist recognised as among the finest children's writers and book illustrators of his day - in any genre.

  • Binding Condition: Good
  • Overall Condition: Near Very Good
  • Size: 315 x 145 x 40; weight 1.8 kg
  • Sold By: Fontein Books
  • Contact Person: Richard Proctor-Sims
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 051 773 0050/048 079 546 4032
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Eft, or, for overseas buyers, PayPal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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