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Alice’s Adventures [and] Through the Looking Glass, Signed Presentation Copies



Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

Written by Lewis Carroll and Illustrated by John Tenniel

Lewis Carroll Pre-Publication Presentation Copies to Elizabeth (Bessie) Anne Slatter

Signed Full Leather Bindings and Clamshell Box by the Chelsea Bindery

Exceptional Condition

Binding Details:  Beautiful signed Chelsea bindings in full leather morocco leather featuring elaborate gilt decorations and titling in compartments on the spine that has five raised spine hubs. The front and rear covers contain gold gilt characters from each of the books, gold gilt ruling to the boards and edges, floral gold gilt turn-ins, green endpapers, and gold gilted page ends. The Chelsea bindery stamp appears in gold gilt on the bottom of the inside front cover of each book. The books are housed in a custom clamshell box by the Chelsea Bindery that replicates the leather spines of both books.

Book Details:This a matching set of inscribed pre-publication first editions of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Though the Looking Glass” presented by Lewis Carroll to Bessie (Elizabeth) Slater who was the daughter of John Slatter, Curate of Sandford-on-Thames, Vicar of Streatley, and Rector of Whitchurch. John Statter, his wife, mother, and daughter Elizabeth ("Bessie") were close friends of the author, who visited and photographed them (Letters, Cohen ed., I:46, note 4). Included in the photo section of the listing are 2 of his photographs of Bessie Slater. The following are the details on each book:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

This is a pre-publication presentation copy from Lewis Carroll to Bessie Anne (Elizabeth) Slater of the first published edition (also known as the first British edition) of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland published by Macmillan & Co., London in 1866. The inscription on the half-title page reads “Bessie Slater from the Author”. The British Museum houses the original Lewis Carroll diary which lists the pre-publication presentation copies. Bessie Slater received copy number 11. A photograph of the diary appears in the photo section of the listing.

The publishing history of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece is well documented. The book was originally printed in Oxford at the Clarendon Press in June 1865. After receiving copies of the book, Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel were dissatisfied with the quality of the printing and decided to suppress the whole edition of 2,000 copies. The pre-publication copies were recalled and it is believed that no more than 25 of these exist. A new printer, Richard Clay, was commissioned to upgrade the printing for the Macmillan edition which is dated 1866 but was ready by November, 1865 in time for the Christmas market. A total of 4,000 copies were published. References: Printing and the Mind of Man 354 (note); Williams–Madan–Green–Crutch 46.

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

This is a pre-publication presentation copy from Lewis Carroll to Bessie Anne (Elizabeth) Slater of the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland published by Macmillan & Co., London in 1872. The inscription on the half title page reads “Elizabeth Anne Slater from the Author, Christmas, 1971”. This is one of 100 presentation copies Lewis Carroll sent on 8 December 1871. Peter Glassman commenting on the book wrote, “In reaction to the universal acclaim *Alice's Adventures in Wonderland* received, Dodgson published this sequel. Nothing is quite what it seems once Alice journeys through the looking-glass, and Dodgson's wit is infectious as he explores concepts of mirror imagery, time running backward, and strategies of chess-all wrapped up in the exploits of a spirited young girl who parries with the Red Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and other unlikely characters. In many ways, this sequel has had an even greater impact on today's pop culture than the first book.”

Condition Report:The bindings and clamshell box are in FINE condition. Internally, the books are clean with some sporadic light foxing and soiling.

Photographs of the bindings and clamshell box, the presentation signatures, photographs of Bessie Anne Slater taken by Lewis Carroll, and the photograph of the Lewis Carroll’s diary listing the presentation copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appear in the photo section of the listing.