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Six Cartoons Signed by Alfred Lowe / Liam O'Flaherty + MS 1st edition 1930

Six Cartoons Signed by Alfred Lowe / Liam O'Flaherty + MS 1st edition 1930


LOWE, Alfred; Liam O’FLAHERTY [Intro.]; Gilbert FABES [Fwd.]

Six Cartoons

London: W. and G. Foyle Limited, 1930


Large square Folio; publisher’s drab boards with paper label printed and decorated in black pasted to upper board; together in the fragile matching dust jacket; unpaginated [pp.xxiv]; the six illustrations showing James Barrie, Arnold Bennett, Gilbert Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells respectively; boards toned to edges and backstrip; lightly beginning to split at spine tips; cracking to the gutter, internally, but holding; a few light spots and finger marks, internally, lower edge of the Barrie portrait nicked, but the plates otherwise very fresh; endpapers lightly mottled with some bubbling; the jacket as usual toned, nicked and creased with some longer closed tears and splits, some repaired internally with tape; small ink number to upper panel; very good overall. Provenance: G.M. Thomas’ name and date to ffep. 


First, limited edition, this no. 52 of 750 signed by Lowe (“Gal”). This copy is unusual in that it comes together with a personalised inscription from O’Flaherty (who provides the introduction) to Fabes (who provides the Foreword): “To Gilbert Fabes/ With best wishes/from/Liam O’Flaherty/7/4/30-”


Also included here is the original handwritten and typescript manuscript of the text, with Fabes’ personal comments on production. Contained within a brown envelope addressed to a G.M. Thomas (whose name appears on the ffep of the text), the initial three pages are drawn in hand, and contain instructions for spacing and position of the title, limitation page and contents. This is followed by a further four pages outlining O’Flaherty’s introduction, with corrections in both ink and pencil. The latter is signed by O’Flaherty. Furthermore are magazine cuttings showing other examples of Lowe’s work, and additional loose copies of O’Flaherty’s introduction and Fabes’ Foreword, similarly corrected in ink and pencil, the corrected version typed above in purple ink. 


Gilbert Fabes was a writer and head of the Rare Book department at Foyles (and later Hatchards) who discovered the street artist Alfred Lowe, first commissioning him to do his own portrait, before asking him to provide the six which appear in this volume. Lowe had been raised in the mines of Nottinghamshire before travelling to London to make his living as an artist. Living on the streets for several years, he was discovered by a newspaper and employed for several years before the publication went out of business and he returned to selling his artwork on the pavements once again. Here, both Fabes and O’Flaherty - Irish Socialist writer and co-founder of the Communist Party in Ireland - praise the artist’s “cunning in grasping the individual characteristics of the most diverse natures”. Together, the three contributors make up an interesting combination of occupations and personalities to create a humorous collection of illustrations of many key and influential figures of the day. 


A fascinating and unique association - likely formerly in the possession either of the publisher, or even one of the contributors themselves.

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