New York: Macmillan Co, 1930. Thomas Mackenzie. Illustrated Reprint. Leather with blind- & gilt-stamping. 8vo, (7 7/8" x 5 1/2" x 1 1/4"); bound by Riviere in full dark green leather with red/black labels elaborate gilt patterns on spine, five raised hubs, with covers having gold tripple pinstriped borders and a gorgeous gold Leprechaun & Pot o' Gold front centerpiece; illustrated by Thomas Mackenzie with a lovely full-color Art Nouveau frontispiece [with tissue guard] + 11 full-page colored plates, plus B&W woodcut chapter headings and endings throughout; marbled green endpapers plus gilded lacy floral pattern inner dentelles, all page edges gilded [a.e.g.]; [xii] + 228 pages. Slipcase in green cloth.
Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz. Near Fine or better / Slipcase: Very Good. Item #7204
A Wonderful "Modern" [i.e., Irish-cum-Edwardian] Fairytale Classic in SUPERB Condition.
Very slight wear overall, moderate uniform browning to spine. Tight text block; clean pages with light uniform toning. No marks by previous owners. Plates in Art Nouveau style are bright and without foxing. Woodcuts are black and sharp. The green cloth over cardboard slipcase is unassuming but firmly protects the beautiful leather volume.
The Crock of Gold is a comic novel written by Irish author James Stephens, first published in 1912. A mixture of philosophy, Irish folklore, and the "battle of the sexes", it consists of six books: Book 1 – The Coming of Pan, Book 2 – The Philosophers Journey, Book 3 – The Two Gods, Book 4 – The Philosopher's Return, Book 5 – The Policemen, Book 6 – The Thin Woman's Journey.
The episodes involve a Philosopher and his quest to find the most beautiful woman in the world, Cáitilin Ni Murrachu, a slender lass from a remote mountain farm. He intended to deliver her from the gods Pan and Aengus Óg.
Unfortunately, to his dismay, the Philosopher was arrested for murder after Leprechauns--whose crock of gold had been taken--told the police that two friends who shared the Philosopher's house had died, and that he might have killed them.
"It is in circumstances such as these that dangerous alliances are made," wrote Stephens, "and, for the first time in history, the elemental beings invoked bourgeois assistance." Fortunately, the Philosopher was spirited away by his wife, the "Thin Woman of Inis Magrath," whereupon they both had further adventures.
James Stephens (1880 – 1950) was a much loved Irish novelist and poet. Standing 4' 10" and nicknamed "Tiny Tim," he spent much of his childhood without a father (who had died when James was two); as an urchin often begging in the streets; then sweating studies in a Protestant Industrial School.
By 1912, the publication date of The Crock of Gold, Stephens--who had graduated as a solicitor's clerk--had become a fervent Irish Republican and Socialist. Landing a modest position as a registrar in the National Gallery of Ireland, he devoted himself increasingly--as a native speaker of Irish--to retelling Irish myths, and writing several original novels based loosely on Irish wonder tales--The Crock of Gold, becoming the most popular and enduring.
Thomas Mackenzie (1887 – 1944) was an English artist and illustrator who often worked in watercolours and woodcuts. His earliest commissions in Art Nouveau styles were for Ali Baba and Aladdin; these watercolours and B&W woodcut illustrations for James Stephens's, The Crock of Gold; as well as for Arthur Ransome's Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp in Rhyme.