London, England: David Nutt in the Strand, 1898. J.D. Batten. Second Edition. Hardcover. Octavo, 9 in. x 7 in. pp. xii, 224, 12. Publishers wheat cloth flecked with red, and full size decoration to front board, and smaller design to back, as well, in red. Some shelf wear to bottom of spine. Photogravure frontispiece with tissue guard, illustrated titlepage, 6 additional plates, many in text illustrations throughout, all black and white. A handful of pages towards the rear - and one in the middle -- unopened (hint: use dull edge index card or ruler NOT a knife) Excellent example of early Art Nouveau aesthetic. Loose endpapers heavily foxed, all else very clean. Near Fine. Item #85378
The Australian folklorist Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916) edited this collection of tales for children from Greek, Celtic, Arabian, and Norse traditions: The Argonauts, The Voyage of Maelduin, Hasan of Bassorah, and The Journeyings of Thorkill and Eric, respectively. Although culturally distinct, the tales belong to the ancient tradition of "wonder voyages," a kind of fantastical travel literature. By compiling the stories in one volume, Jacobs hoped to show how enduring and ubiquitous this tradition was throughout the ages and across cultures.
The artist John D. Batten illustrated many of Jacobs books of fairytales. His masterful illustrations contributed to the success of Jacob's works during the Golden Age of British Book Illustration.