London: George Allen, 1894. First edition thus. A Fine copy of the famous "peacock" edition of Pride and Prejudice, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. The book is in exceptional condition, having been tucked away for a hundred years in it's original dust jacket. Easily the brightest, cleanest copy of the book that we have seen. A contemporary owner's name on the front end paper in light pencil, otherwise unmarked and unread. The original pictorial dust jacket is toned on the spine and at the edges (as you'd expect), with a large chip at the top of the spine (not affecting any lettering) and with a few short tears, but otherwise complete. A remarkable survivor, the only trade copy in dust jacket that we can locate (and none in the auction record).
Note: This book was issued with all page edges gilt and with just the top-edge gilt and the others untrimmed. The former is by far the more common style and that binding is about 8 - 10 mm shorter than this one. The dust jacket was designed for that shorter binding, and consequently appears a bit short on this book, although it hasn't been trimmed or tampered with in any way. The rear panel advertises the existing titles in George Allen's Illustrated Gift Books series, Pride and Prejudice at the head, including the new edition of Ruskin's The Harbours of England which ended up being delayed until April 1895.
Austen's beloved masterpiece. "Pride and Prejudice" follows the classic relationship between the clever Elizabeth Bennett and the seemingly distant Mr. Darcy. Austen actually finished an early version of the novel, titled "First Impressions," when she was a mere 21. The book received a great deal of praise when it was released, with one well regarded critic of the day saying he "would rather have written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels."
The artist, Hugh Thomson, was most famous for his illustrations of Austen’s work, as well as the work of Charles Dickens. Known for his attention to detail, he would often spend a great deal of time in museums researching the lifestyles and dress of the characters he was depicting, Thomson started working on his drawings for "Pride and Prejudice" in 1893. They proved an immense success, selling over 10,000 copies in the few years after they were released. He would go on to illustrate many of Austen's other novels as well. Fine in Very Good dust jacket. (Item #1861)