BLACK BEAUTY: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse.
[the tale of a horse, BY a horse] London: Jarrold and Sons, n.d.. 8 pp undated ads. Original green cloth decorated in black and gilt.
First Edition of this classic tale, told in the first person by Black Beauty himself. He encounters masters both kind and cruel, and as a result the book came to be seen as the UNCLE TOM'S CABIN for animals' rights -- in fact, the first American edition, which came out thirteen years later, was published by the American Humane Society. The tale has been filmed numerous times, beginning in 1910 and continuing in 1946, 1971 and 1994.
Anna Sewell (1820-1878)... had been crippled by a leg-injury since she was fourteen years of age [resulting in her constant need for horse-drawn carriages], and by the time she came to write BLACK BEAUTY [from 1871 until 1877], her one and only book, she was bedridden [and in declining health: she dictated most of the tale to her mother and, at the end too weak of voice for that, wrote on little slips of paper which her mother transcribed]. She died a few months after its publication, too early to realise the extent of its phenomenal success. [Quayle]
Anna Sewell received just twenty pounds from the publisher, for all rights to the book; the book did not sell very well at first, but after it received positive reviews from anti-cruelty groups, sales took off.
This copy is Carter's binding "C", which is the most frequently-seen binding -- with the front-cover gilt medallion of a horse's head looking left. Bindings "A" and "B" are noted mainly on copies that were inscribed by Anna Sewell or by her mother (after the author's death), so it is possible that they were special presentation bindings; however there is also at least one known copy in this binding "C" that is inscribed by the author.
This is a near-fine copy (volume slightly askew as usual, discreet repair at the top end of the front joint and at the bottom end of the rear joint). There is scarcely any other external wear, the original endpapers are intact (the front one bears a 1922 inscription), and the leaves are free of foxing. Carter MBV pp 37-38; Quayle pp 96-97. In all, a highly-desirable copy, housed in a beautiful morocco-backed clamshell case. Item #15181