Dover Publications (also known as Dover Books) is an American publisher that has been around since 1941, and is best known for its very cheap paperback reproductions of classic literature and public domain images. However, in 2008 Dover launched a premium imprint called Calla Editions, which primarily reproduces works from the “golden age of illustration” – a period when bookmaking was a beloved art form and many stunningly illustrated books were produced. A large number of books in the Calla Editions series are cloth-bound facsimiles of deluxe editions of illustrated children’s classics, but there are also original designs, photo collections, recipe books and other non-fiction selections. The publisher’s page is missing about half of the volumes, so I have made this collector’s guide for those of you interested in tracking down individual volumes to complete a collection, as well as sharing a few notes and reviews on the production values for each of the books.
Are Calla Editions worth it?
I have a large number of these books in my own collection, so I definitely think they represent good quality for a reasonable price point – although the quality can be a little hit or miss depending on when the volume was printed. The majority of the books are covered in quality buckram cloth and gilt decorations, although a few have dust jackets over plain covers and some have paper covers which are prone to damage. The paper is heavyweight and sturdy, most often 100# Utopia II Ivory or 150gsm Chinese Premium paper. Most of the books have Smyth sewn bindings, although a few are only glued. Some are printed in the US, some in China. The price point is fair for books sold in the US, particularly since they are often available on sale, but they are solid, heavy volumes which can make them much more expensive in other countries due to additional shipping costs. They used to be excellent value in other countries too, but in recent years (since about 2018) the prices have been steadily climbing, and a full price Calla edition is now inching closer to a discounted Folio Society volume (in which case I’d generally say go for the higher quality Folio, with a few notable exceptions).
Calla Editions vs Folio Society vs Barnes & Noble
Various different publishers have produced facsimiles of the same golden age fairy tale publications, including most comprehensively the series put out by Folio Society and Barnes & Noble. Overall, Calla Editions and Folio Society books are similar in size, design and feel, but Calla use a more budget binding and do not provide a slipcase. Barnes & Noble’s children’s classics series have pretty bespoke leather bindings, but they are much smaller and generally have poorer image quality than Calla. Almost all of the Folio Society editions are bound in cloth, while only some of the Calla Editions are clothbound and others have paper boards. There is in fact quite a significant overlap of titles for their children’s books, particularly since both publishers have produced facsimiles of the same golden age fairy tale publications. In a rare couple of cases, I actually prefer the Calla editions over the Folio Society equivalents because even though the quality is marginally lower, the Calla versions may have a greater number of illustrations because they are facsimiles of a different edition, or the text has been reset in a nicer layout (particularly the Poe, Peter Pan and Aesop volumes). The reproduction of the illustrations is usually a little crisper in Folio Society editions because they almost always use an original volume to create their facsimile editions, while some of the Calla Editions are based on a second edition (essentially making a copy of a copy) and the colour plates therefore appear a little softer. I have also noticed that the black and white sketches in the Calla editions can sometimes look like they weren’t properly cleaned up after scanning, so there can be the occasional artefact not present in the original. But overall, they are good value, have excellent shelf presence, and will find a welcome home in your library if you are a fan of the golden age illustrators.
Are any Calla Editions valuable?
Most titles stay in print for several years, but typically once a title has gone out of print it is removed from their website and no longer available except through second hand sources. Some of the more desirable and rare (which usually means more expensive in the second-hand market) out of print volumes include Frankenstein (a Calla original); The Ship that Sailed to Mars (facsimile of a 1923 edition); and Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (facsimile of a 1922 edition). These titles are not easy to track down and you can expect to pay a premium for them unless you are lucky or patient.
How many books in the series? Is it still active?
As of January 2022, 94 titles have been released, including about 20 volumes that are out of print. Despite a smaller publication schedule in recent years (and nothing in 2020/21 due to pandemic materials shortage), there are new volumes in the pipeline expected for release later in 2022.
But which Calla editions are the most beautiful?
Well, this is very much a personal decision. But if you’re really interested in my opinion, I think the star standout volumes are Hamlet (2010), The Ship that Sailed to Mars (2011), Tanglewood Tales (2012), Peter Pan (2013), Frankenstein (2016) and Fairyland (2016). I will note that the earlier publications had more varied bindings and are generally of higher quality. There was a period around 2012/2013 when printing was first outsourced to China and the bindings changed to paper where the quality noticeably dropped. More recently, production has remained in China, but the bindings are mostly cloth again, and production quality is respectable. Personally, I don’t love the dust jackets that are on some of the volumes, but you can easily remove them if you want your series to match, as the boards underneath are cloth-covered and generally also feature gilt titles in keeping with the rest of the clothbound series.
Where can I get the books?
Dover do sell in print Calla Edition books from their website, which is a viable option if you are located in the US – but they rarely offer them at any sort of discount so you are probably better off supporting your local indie if you’re willing to pay full price, or browsing the selection available at a big box store like Amazon if you are looking for a discount. For out of print volumes or cheap second hand copies (and this is quite viable for the cloth bound editions as they are relatively robust – I have ex-library copies in my collection that were still in excellent condition after circulation), I recommend checking availability at Abes.
Complete List of Calla Edition Books
The Big Book of Fables by Walter Jerrold, illustrated by Charles Robinson
9781606601273. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Blackie and Son, Ltd., London, 1912. 28 color plates along with decorative initials and borders, hand lettering, silhouettes, and other ornaments.
Bound in green JHT cloth.
Glamourie by Alice Starmore, photographed by Jade Starmore
9781606600832. A Calla Edition Original. Taking her daughter Jade's supernatural stories as inspiration, Alice uses the art of hand knitting to illustrate the tales with elaborate costumes and accessories that portray fanciful and extraordinary ideas.
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
9781606601129. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1909. Edward Fitzgerald translation.
20 full-color illustrations, illustrated endpapers, bound in maroon JHT cloth.
Robin Hood by Paul Creswick, illustrated by Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth
9781606601235. A Calla Edition Original which which presents the Scribner's Classic edition by Paul Creswick and its brilliant color plates by N. C. Wyeth, along with a generous selection of black-and-white drawings from Howard Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.
The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde, illustrated by Charles Robinson
9781606601174. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Brentano's, New York, 1910. 12 color plates and many line drawings and embellishments. Cloth cover, sewn binding, glossy paper.
World War One Posters
9781606600955. A Calla Edition original in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of America's entrance into World War I, this volume presents reproductions of 100 of the era's greatest posters. Artists include James Montgomery Flagg, J. C. Lyendecker, Howard Chandler Christy, Gordon Grant, Harvey Dunn, Ludwig Hohlwein, Frank Brangwyn, and Theophile Steinlen.
Goblin Market and Other Selected Poems by Christina Rossetti, illustrated by Florence Harrison
9781606601204. A Calla Edition original that combines two books of verse by Rossetti: Goblin Market and Other Poems and Shorter Poems, accompanied by 16 full-color paintings and dozens of line drawings. Patterned endpapers, dust jacket over brown JHT cloth.
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: The William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer, illustrated by Edward Burne-Jones
9781606601044. A reprint of the World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York, 1958 facsimile edition. Decorative ornaments and 87 full-page woodcut illustrations.
Beauty and the Beast by Eleanor Vere Boyle
9781606601037. Facsimile of the edition originally published by the Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, London, 1875. 10 full-color plates, numerous black-and-white images, a redesigned layout, new font, and fresh border details. Gorgeous artwork and a less common edition of the tale.
Cloth cover, sewn binding, glossy paper.
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
9781606601136. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder and Stoughton, Limited, Nottingham, England, 1919. 12 full-color plates plus numerous line drawings. Stunning illustrations, but the 1800s vernacular and political themes make it more appropriate now for a slightly older reader than originally intended.
The Walter Crane Storybook Collection by Walter Crane
9781606601143. A Calla Edition original, compiling a selection of folktales from Crane's Toy Books, a colorful series of individual volumes. A beautifully illustrated storybook for the very young.
Cloth cover, sewn binding, glossy paper.
Great Masters of Decorative Art by Aymer Vallance
9781606601020. Facsimile of an edition originally published by The Art Journal Office, London, 1900, upgraded with color plates, celebrating the work of Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and Walter Crane. An insightful text for the graphic artist.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, illustrated by Richard Lindner
9781606601112. Facsimile of an edition originally published by the Peter Pauper Press, Mt. Vernon, New York, 1945. 10 full-page line illustrations. Interesting paintings by an artist considered a pre-cursor to the pop art movements.
Dust jacket over blue boards. OOP.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London, illustrated by Paul Bransom
9781606601150. A Calla Edition original using text originally published in 1903, and featuring extensive illustrations by wildlife specialist Paul Bransom. 16 full-color plates, numerous color and black-and-white images, along with headpieces, spot pieces, and other embellishments.
A classic canine adventure story. Patterned endpapers, dust jacket over blue boards bound in JHT cloth.
The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Thomas Malory, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
9781606600900. Facsimile of an edition originally published by The Macmillan Company, New York, 1917 using Malory's text as abridged by Alfred W. Pollard. 16 color illustrations.
A gorgeous, albeit hefty volume. Illustrated endpapers, bound in JHT cloth. OOP.
Sindbad the Sailor and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights by Edmund Dulac
9781606600924. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1911. 23 color plates.
Exquisite illustrations. Illustrated endpapers, bound in decorative blue JHT cloth.
Joan of Arc by F. Funck-Brentano, illustrated by O. D. V. Guillonnet
9781606600962. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Ancienne Librairie Furne, C. Boivin & Cie, Paris, 1912, as part of a series of young adult biographies of French leaders. 40 color plates. An interesting condensed history accompanied by some wonderful paintings.
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Harry Rountree and Maple White
9781606600887. Facsimile of the tale as it first appeared in The Strand Magazine, London, 1912, with illustrations by Harry Rountree and Doyle under his Maple White alias.
Lovely, readable edition with around 50 sepia illustrations. Illustrated endpapers, bound in JHT cloth with an inset paper image.
The Golden Asse by Lucius Apuleius, translated by William Adlington, illustrated by Jean de Bosschere
9781606600931. Facsimile of an edition originally published by John Lane, The Bodley Head, London, 1923. 16 full-page plates, eight in color, and numerous black & white images.
A lovely edition of the ancient world's only surviving novel (note that it's mostly written in Elizabethan English, and the subject matter is geared to an adult audience). Illustrated endpapers, bound in red JHT cloth with gilt titles.
Great Children's Stories by Frederick Richardson
9781606600856. A Calla Edition original, combining reproductions of Frederick Richardson's Book for Children, M. A. Donohue & Company, Chicago, 1938, and Old Old Tales Retold, M. A. Donohue & Company, Chicago, 1923.
Lots of classic stories (Red Riding Hood, Chicken Little, etc.) with brilliant art nouveau illustrations. Illustrated endpapers, bound in brown JHT cloth with an inlaid illustration.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrated by Hugh Thomson
9781606600917. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Methuen & Company Limited, London, 1920. A fascinating portrait of colonial life, with some wonderful Thomson watercolors.
Fairyland by Ida Outhwaite
9781606600863. Facsimile of an edition originally published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1929. 19 full-color plates and dozens of black & white illustrations. Simply delightful and very collectable.
Cloth covers, sewn binding, glossy paper. OOP.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, illustrated by Nino Carbé
9781606600894. A Calla Edition Original. Newly designed and reset from one of the earliest illustrated editions of Frankenstein. Includes all of Nino Carbé's pen-and-ink drawings and endpieces, five bonus full-color paintings created by Carbé in the 1980s, and a foreword by the artist's daughter, Elizabeth Carbé. Scarce - grab it if you see it.
Cloth covers, sewn binding, glossy pages. OOP.
Mary and Vincent Price's Come Into The Kitchen Cookbook by Mary Price
9781606600979. Facsimile of an edition originally published by the Stravon Educational Press, New York, 1969 edition. Illustrated with photos of historic American kitchens and plenty of whimsical images, this edition includes a new foreword by the authors' daughter Victoria Price, and a new Introduction by Darra Goldstein.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge, illustrated by Willy Pogány
9781606600283. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 1910. Hand-lettered text decorative borders, illuminated scripts, and numerous marginal illustrations as well as 20 full-page color plates.
Beautifully illuminated with the feel of a medieval manuscript. Illustrated endpapers, bound in JHT cloth.
The Herbal or General History of Plants by John Gerard
9781606600801. Facsimile of an edition originally published in London, 1633, as revised and enlarged by Thomas Johnson. Describes about 2,850 plants and has about 2,700 woodcut illustrations.
A wealth of information with some delightful commentary. OOP.
The Ring o' Roses Treasury by L. Leslie Brooke
9781606600740. A Calla Edition original, combining nursery rhymes and stories from Leonard Leslie Brooke's The Golden Goose Book and Ring O' Roses from 1905. Reset and redesigned, featuring 60 full-color plates and 128 black-and-white illustrations.
Dust jacket over cloth boards, semi-gloss paper. Likely soon OOP.
Mozart's Violin Concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
9781606600597. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Raven Press, New York, 1986. Includes reproductions of the autograph scores in Mozart's own hand of Concerto No. 1 in B Flat, K. 207; Concerto No. 2 in D, K. 211; Concerto No. 3 in G, K. 216; Concerto No. 4 in D, K. 218; and Concerto No. 5 in A, K. 219; Adagio in E, K. 261, and the Rondo in B Flat, K. 261a.
A beautiful reproduction of the music with Mozart's original bowings. Dust jacket over boards.
Paris in Photographs, 1890s by Alex Toledano
9781606600511. A Calla Edition original, compiling fifty images from a previously unpublished photo album offering an atmospheric view of the European capital at the turn of the twentieth century.
Interesting photographs from 'la belle epoch', but limited commentary. Dust jacket over boards.
The Book of the Homeless, edited by Edith Wharton
9781606600788. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1916. Text is presented in both English and French, and features poetry, stories, illustrations, and other contributions from luminaries including Henry James, Jean Cocteau, Thomas Hardy, Claude Monet, Joseph Conrad, John Singer Sargent, George Santayana, W. B. Yeats, and many others.
Originally produced as a fund-raiser for the war effort. Cloth cover, sewn binding.
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by William Cullen Bryant, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth
9781606600771. A Calla Editions original featuring the 1873 verse translation of the ancient classic by poet William Cullen Bryant with illustrations created for a 1929 edition. 16 color plates. OOP.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, illustrated by Raymond Bishop
9781606600757. A Calla Edition original volume, featuring a newly reset design with 25 woodcut illustrations from the 1930 Albert and Charles Boni edition, as well as an abundance of decorative elements.
Dust jacket over boards.
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, illustrated by Warwick Gobles
9781606600795. A Calla Edition original volume that combine Goble's original art appearing in Pearson's Magazine with the revised text from the story's subsequent publication in book form.
Timeless science fictions with over 50 fantastic images. Cloth cover, sewn binding.
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, illustrated by Louis, George and Frederick Rhead
9781606600535. Facsimile of an edition originally published by The Century Co, New York, 1898. Lavishly illustrated with black-and-white artwork, including over 35 full-page illustrations, dozens of smaller motifs, and fabulously ornamented borders for each page of text.
Journeyman: Eric Clapton - A Photographic Narrative, photography by Gene Shaw
9781606600559. A Calla Edition original featuring 150 of Shaw's rare color and black-and-white photographs, with an introduction by Anthony DeCurtis and a Foreword by John "Crash" Matos.
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J. M. Barrie, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
9781606600436. Facsinile of an edition , originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1906. 50 color plates as well as black-and-white tailpieces, headpieces and other embellishments. OOP.
Tales from Shakespeare retold by Charles & Mary Lamb, various illustrators
9781606600429. A Calla Edition original with numerous black-and-white and 50 full-page color illustrations from various editions including Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, W. Heath Robinson, Frank C. Papé, Charles Folkard, and George Soper. Paper cover (edges quite prone to rubbing). OOP.
The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
9781606600160. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder and Stoughton, New York and London, 1912. 28 color plates and numerous black-and-white images.
Illustrated endpapers, bound in olive JHT cloth with a textured cover design.
The Sleeping Beauty by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
9781606600412. Facsimile of an edition originally published by William Heinemann, London, 1920. Six color plates (including an image featured only in the original limited edition of 625 signed copies) and numerous black & white silhouettes. Cloth covers, glued binding, matte paper.
Slovenly Peter by Mark Twain, illustrated by Fritz Kredel
9781606600481. Facsimile of an edition originally published by The Marchbanks Press for the Limited Edition Club, New York, 1935.
Twain's free translation of the gory Struwwelpeter tales originally written in 1845 by German physician Heinrich Hoffmann. Boring endpaper design and bound in gloss art paper (this one is not their best effort).
An Arthur Rackham Christmas
9781606600528. A Calla Edition original that includes a 1931 edition of Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas and Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, originally published in 1915. 16 color plates and many black line headpieces, ornaments and other embellishments. OOP.
Dinotopia: The World Beneath by James Gurney
9781606600337. An expanded volume based on the edition originally published by Scholastic, Inc., New York, 1995, with 30 additional pages, including a new foreword by paleontologist Michael Brett-Surman and afterword by the author.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
9781606600320. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1908. Complete play text accompanied by 40 full-color plates. Plain endpapers, bound in purple Wibalin (textured matte paper), prone to rubbing on the edges. OOP.
Cinderella by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
9781606600290. Facsimile of an edition originally published by William Heinemann, London, 1919. Ten color plates and many silhouette images. Illustrated endpapers, bound in white Wibalin (textured matte paper). OOP.
The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes by Walter Jerrold, illustrated by Charles Robinson
9781606600306. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Blackie and Son, Ltd., London, 1903. The text has been slightly altered to omit 5 rhymes no longer considered appropriate for printing, and to add 5 additional color plates from a later printing. 16 color plates, decorative initials and borders, hand lettering, silhouettes, and other ornaments. Bound in red Wibalin (textured matte paper).
Twelve Dancing Princesses by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, illustrated by Kay Neilsen
9781606600252. Facsimile of an edition originally published as In Powder & Crinoline, Hodder & Stoughton. 23 color plates. Illustrated endpapers, bound in ivory Wibalin (textured matte paper). OOP.
Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault, illustrated by Harry Clarke
9781606600276. Facsimile of an edition originally published by George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., London, 1922. 24 full-color, pen-and-ink, and silhouette images. Introduction by art historian Thomas Bodkin. Illustrated endpapers, bound in blue Wibalin (textured matte paper). OOP.
The Sleeping Beauty and other Fairy Tales by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
9781606600191. A Calla Edition facsimile, originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1910. 30 full-page color plates and additional design elements. Bound in Skivertex (faux leather). OOP.
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, illustrated by William Heath Robinson
9781606600153. A Calla Editions original based on the edition published by Constable & Co., Ltd., London, 1914. 12 full-color plate and 32 full-page black & white images along with many vignettes.
Textured board cover, glued binding, matte paper. OOP.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Henry Rountree
9781606600146. A Calla facsimile of an edition originally published by Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1901. 92 watercolors, many of which are full page, with the others carefully placed with textual wraparound.
Paper boards, glued binding, matte paper.
The Ship That Sailed to Mars by William M Timlin
9781606600177. Facsimile of an edition originally published by George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., London, 1923. 48 pages of calligraphic text and 48 colour plates.
Paper boards, glued binding, semi-glossy paper. OOP.
The Thousand Nights and One Night by David Walser, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski
9781606600207. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Puffin Books, London, 2007. The first publication of this work for the American market and available for sale in the United States only.
Exquisitely illustrated compositions of silhouettes laced with brilliant color and metallic silver ornamentation. Dust jacket over paper boards. OOP.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Maurice and Edward J. Detmold
9781606600092. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Macmillan & Co., London, 1908. 16 color plates, scanned from a rare set of portfolio prints.
Cloth cover, sewn binding, glossy paper.
A Kingdom Far and Clear, with Swan Lake by Mark Helprin, illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
9781606600122. A Calla Editions original presenting Helprin's three novellas in a single volume: Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows. 42 color plates. Dust jacket over buckram.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon, illustrated by Kay Nielsen
9781606600030. Facsimile of an edition originally published by George H. Doran Company, New York, 1914.
25 intricately detailed color and numerous black-and-white images. Quarter bound in Kennet Cloth over paper boards. OOP.
Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
9781606600009. Facsimile of an edition originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, New York & London, 1911. 28 full-color images.
Cloth covers (first printings are brown, later printings are green), sewn binding, glossy pages. OOP.