The Ship That Sailed to Mars | William Timlin | 1923
Large quarto. First Edition. Issued by Harrap in an edition of 2000 copies in 1923, 250 of which were distributed by Stokes in the US. Near Fine in gilt decorated white vellum spine and gray paper covered boards in a superb, Near Fine dust jacket, with 48 richly colored plates interspersed with sheets of calligraphic text. Housed in a custom maroon quarter-leather clamshell case, marbled paper-covered boards, gilt spine lettering and design. Book is lightly bumped at the spine ends and bottom corners with a touch of offsetting to the pastedowns and a small closed tear (less than 1/4 inch) affecting the bottom of the first six pages. The rare jacket has only a small closed tear to the bottom of the rear hinge and only a touch of light soil and rubbing at the extremities.
William Timlin was an artist and author, born in the UK. He studied at the Armstrong College of Art in Newcastle, and moved to South Africa in 1912 with his parents to finish his education. He worked there both as an architect and as an artist, and freely credits the influences of Aubrey Beardsley, Edmund Dulac, and Arthur Rackham in his work. He wrote and illustrated this novel, which also sports his own calligraphy. The story is a combination of science fiction and children’s fantasy, wherein a man who believes in fairies has used their skill to construct a ship where they travel into space and on to Mars where they encounter a magical world. “The storyline is minimal, the book’s strength resting on its exotic descriptions and beautiful illustrations” (Clute and Grant: The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, pp. 949-950).
One of the most lavishly produced volumes related to fantasy fiction and children’s literature. A stunning production of the author’s only work.