UPDATE: We are pleased to report that the Robert Louis Stevenson items which we recently reported as lost or stolen in transit have finally reached their destination. Thank you all for your vigilance and concern.

****

The following items have gone missing from the postal service on an international shipment to Scotland:

1.  STEVENSON. ROBERT LOUIS. Moral Emblems. A Collection of Cuts and Verses. Moral Emblems. A Second Collection of Cuts and Verses. Illustrated, 3 1/4" X 5" (83 X 127mm) and 3 1/2" X 4 3/4" (89 X 121mm) respectively, original printed self-wrappers, sewn as issued. Davos-Platz : S.L. Osbourne & Company, n.d. .

First editions. These small excessively rare and fragile "original juvenile toy-books by Stevenson" were printed by his young stepson, Lloyd Osbourne. Each booklet features 5 woodcuts with verses printed on the opposing pages. According to the George Barr McCutcheon sale catalogue (New York, American Art Association, Inc.,1926, lot 555) "he cuts were executed by Stevenson with a pen-knife." Both booklets have some wear, but are generally in very good state.

The Second Collection is a presentation copy from Stevenson, inscribed in ink on the front cover: "S.E.P. from / R.L.S." Accompanying this inscribed copy is an autograph letter signed (one page, on embossed stationery of the Board of Trade, S.W.,17 November 1896; a little torn) from Edmund Gosse to "My dear Foote." In his letter Gosse tells of having secured the booklet from the original owner and reports that "It also has R.L.S.'s signature. The possessor would not part with it for less than £5, which was the sum you commissioned me to give, so I have paid that, and you can repay me at your leisure."

Also present are the two (similarly rare) single-leaf advertisements printed by Osbourne & Co. for the above publications (both a little edgeworn and with some splitting where previously folded, otherwise very good). Moral Emblems I and II are each contained in separate quarter morocco slipcases; the two advertisements are preserved together in a single quarter morocco pull-off case. Prideaux 11 & 12; Beinecke 127, 129, 128, 130.

2.  STEVENSON. ROBERT LOUIS AND OSBOURNE, S.L. To M.I. Stevenson. Illustrated, 3 1/4" X 3 /12" (83 X 89mm), original single sheet of pale blue paper folded to make 4pp. (Davos-Platz : S.L. Osbourne & Company), Feb. 11, 1882.

First edition. Beinecke 111. A rare specimen of the private printing ventures of Stevenson and his young stepson, Lloyd Osbourne. The text comprises a greeting ("To M.I. STEVENSON / Feb. 11, 1882 / from / R.L. STEVENSON / and / S.L. OSBOURNE."); a woodcut of a woman in a dress, raising her arms in delight at the sight of a flower in the countryside; the caption ("THE MARGUERITE. / Lawks! what a beautiful flower!! / T.S. / "); the imprint ("Printers: / S.L. Osbourne & Co. / Davos-Platz / 1882").  Light spotting and edgewear, but a very good copy of a fragile publication. In a full morocco pull-off case with silk folding inner liner by the "Scroll Club, N.Y."

Prideaux (16) explains: "The 'M.I. Stevenson' in the title stands for R.L. Stevenson's mother, and the 'T.S.' after the quotation for his father, Thomas Stevenson. The quotation was humorously described by Robert Louis as the only piece of poetry his father was ever guilty of."

If you have any information on any of this material, please contact David J. Holmes at (315) 893-7794 or holmesarchive@gmail.com.

Comments