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Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by W.Heath Robinson published by Folio Society

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Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by W.Heath Robinson published by Folio Society

A fairy tale or fairytale is an instance of folklore in the form of a short story. Such stories usually include mythical creatures such as fairies, elves, giants, unicorns, and goblins. Magic or enchantments are also often involved.

Book & SlipcaseHans Christian Andersen (Wiki)

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author best remembered for his literary fairy tales which he wrote between 1835 and 1872. He wrote a total of 156 stories across nine volumes which were translated into more than 125 languages.

The Folio Society came into being in 1947 and was incorporated in 1971. It is still in existence today. The Society produces specially designed bindings for both fiction and non-fiction works. Many have artist-commissioned illustrations. Most of the books, but not all, have slipcases to keep them tidy. If a book should have a slipcase but it is missing, the value will be decreased significantly.

The Marsh King's DaughterTitle Page
Frontis (The Marsh King's Daughter) / Title Page

The Folio Society binding of Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales has full red cloth with a design in white and gold by Heath Robinson on the front cover. It was published with a red slip case. This book has 16 sumptuous colour plates plus 94 pen-and-ink drawings, 17 of which are full-page (one for each story). The title page has a design with lettering by the artist.

William Heath Robinson was the only British Illustrator of the time to become a ‘household name’. This book is based on the 1913 edition of Andersen’s tales, illustrated by Heath Robinson, and is considered to be Robinson’s best work. 

TomeliseRed SHoes
Tomelise / Red Shoes

The 17 selected stories of Hans Andersen in this volume are:

  • The Marsh King’s Daughter
  • Tommelise
  • The Snow Queen
  • Elfin-Mount
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Storks
  • The Nightingale
  • The Wild Swans
  • The Real Princess
  • The Red Shoes
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Swineherd
  • The Flying Trunk
  • The Leaping Match
  • The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Naughty Boy

For the older generations, I would be surprised if one does not recognise at least one of these stories. For me, the most familiar are The Emperor’s New Clothes (what child would not love a story about a person unknowingly going about with no clothes on??! Titter!) and The Ugly Duckling (a story of a cygnet becoming a swan).

The colour plates in this binding are delightful, as are the pen-and-ink drawings, examples of which are shown here.

The Real PrincessThe Ugly Duckling
The Real Princess / The Ugly Duckling

So, put Hans Christian Andersen, William Heath Robinson, and Folio Society together and you get this beautiful volume of stories. Why not buy one today for your collection?

Information gleaned from:

Folio 60
The Dictionary of 20th Century British illustrators by Alan Horne
The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914 by Simon Houfe

Contributed by Sonia

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(Published 13th Oct 2022)

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