Today’s post and video are on the Folio Society’s limited edition series of Cherished Tales. So far six have been released in this series and I cover four in depth in the video.

Wind in the Willows LE with solander box
Wind in the Willows Signed Etching
Advertising letter 'from Toad'
Wind in the Willows standard FS edition
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Size comparison between LE and Standard editions
2008: Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk

Three years prior to the limited edition, a standard edition of this book had been released, and you can see the size difference in the picture on the side here.

The first I heard about the new Wind in the Willows was a delightful letter I received in the mail addressed to folio society members and signed by Toad, Esq. In the letter, Toad explains how he believes that for the 100th anniversary, a special lavish Birthday Edition should be produced, and he has invited Mr van Sandwyk to stay with him at Toad Hall to work on further illustrations. It’s absolutely charming.

The limited centenary edition itself is spectacular, and no expense was spared by the Folio Society to make this the most enchanting edition possible. It is presented in cloth-bound solander box of “marshtoad green”. The spine is blocked in 22-carat gold, with vellum tips and paper sides blocked in three shades of metallic foil.

The letterpress endpapers show an architectural plan of Toad Hall. The book is hand bound in quarter vellum, limited to 1,000 copies and each book contains a limitation spread with a signed, hand-printed etching. The calligraphy was printed letterpress by the Logan Press.

The layout of the LE was completely redesigned to allow for forty new pen and ink illustrations and two new colour plates. The 16 colour plates are all tipped in by hand, with gold edges and exquisite gold borders. There are new chapter heads and tails, as well as charming hand-drawn captions.

The limited edition sold out quite quickly, but the standard edition is still available from FS.

Where to buy:

Wind in the Willows LE (OOP) via Abes

Wind in the Willows (standard ed) from Folio Society

2009: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat

2009 saw the next volume in this series released in the bicentenary of the birth of Edward Fitzgerald, being the poetic quatrains of his Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Common design features we see in the series are again a vellum quarter-binding, spine blocked in 22-carat gold, vellum tips, and front board blocked in three metallic shades with a design by the artist. The endpapers are letterpress, and in this case the book was printed on Hello Matt art paper by Beacon Press.

There is a handprinted etching, and several delightful hand-drawn sketches along with 16 exquisite colour plates by the artist Niroot Puttapipat. It includes the original introduction and notes by Edward FitzGerald, as well an introduction by A. S. Byatt.

Each quatrain is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life. The quatrains are set in 24 point Caslon, with a gilded top edge and ribbon marker.

Niroot’s illustrations are what makes this volume special – his pictures are beautifully detailed and rich in texture, capturing the opulence of the poem. They are filled with the rich lapis blue and gold decoration that is such a feature of Eastern art.

However, at 220 pages long, you definitely notice that there are a great many blank pages included in the design of the limited edition. A standard edition was released the following year, which is quite similar in content, but a different layout - much thinner but probably more readable.

Where to buy:

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam LE (OOP) via Abes

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam standard edition (OOP) via Abes

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam LE
Rubaiyat etching
Rubaiyat standard FS edition
Internal Illustration
Rime of the Ancient Mariner LE with solander box
Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustration
Rime - standard FS edition
2010: Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, illustrated by Harry Brockway

In 2010, the Folio society released the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, illustrated by Harry Brockway with 16 colour plates.

This volume has also been released in a standard edition, still available from FS.

Where to buy:

Rime of the Ancient Mariner LE (OOP) via Abes

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (standard ed) from Folio Society direct

Gulliver's Travels LE
Gulliver's Travels signed etching
2011: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, illustrated by Peter Suart

Gulliver’s Travels, or Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World in Four Parts by Jonathan Swift was released in 2011, with 17 tipped in colour plates by Peter Suart.

Where to buy:

Gulliver’s Travels LE from Folio Society direct

Just So LE with solander box
Just So Stories signed etching
Just So illustration
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Just So advertising letter "from the animals"

2012: Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat

And then in 2012, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling was released. This features 14 tipped-in colour illustrations and numerous embedded line drawings by Niroot Puttapiat.

Another delightful piece of ephemera for this edition was a collection of reviews supposedly by the animals from the stories that was sent out with the advertising material.

Where to buy:

► Just So Stories LE (OOP) via Abebooks

Alice in Wonderland LE with solander box
Alice in Wonderland signed etching
A tipped in 'scrap'
2016: Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk

The most recent edition to be released in this series is Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk. This edition won the Book of the Year Award in 2016.

It features 11 tipped in colour plates and 9 ‘paper scraps’. The scraps are small tipped in illustrations, printed on art paper and individually placed in the book. They hark back to the Victorian pastime of pasting small cut-out pictures into albums, or ‘scrapbooks’.

In addition to the limited etching, each chapter features hand-drawn initials, all different and intertwined with motifs from the chapter in question. There are an additional 50 embedded line-drawings printed in black and gold ink on Ambassador Cream twin wire laid paper. Alice is famous for its linguistic jokes and this sense of fun is reflected in the illustrations and typography.

Where to buy:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland LE (OOP) via Abebooks

Many more close-ups etc of all the volumes in the video – please do watch if you’re interested in looking more closely at any of these volumes!


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