PETER AND WENDY by J M BarrieIllustrated by F D BedfordUndated (True first printing) published in 1911 by Hodder and StoughtonCondition: VG, 267pp. Original olive green cloth with ornate gilt stamped vignette and borders of Peter planked by mermaids, floral motifs with swallows, orate gilt designs to spine depicting Hook. A solid, square copy, the cloth is clean and the gilt stamping to the upper board is still looking very well indeed, the gilt stamping to the spine is even fresher, bright and superb, light rubbing to the corners and spine tips. Moderate foxing throughout, this is heavier to the pages front and rear, the pages are tightly bound with 12 exquisite full page plates by F D Bedford and an illustrated title page all collated and in fine condition.*This copy carries the bookplate of Jane McBryde and is inscribed to her 'Jane with love from Auntie Bessie and Uncle Appelbe'. Jane McBryde was the daughter of Gwen McBryde and James McBryde, illustrator and close friend of M R James, who became Jane's legal guardian upon the death of her father. 'Auntie Bessie Adams' [nee: Grotrian] was Gwen McBryde's sister, who married Captain Appelbe Chisholm Adams on 20th November 1906. The bookplate carries the family coat of arms.
James McBryde died of complications following an appendix operation. He had only completed four illustrations for MRJ's stories before his death. MRJ's publisher suggested another illustrator but MRJ was adamant that no one could replace his friend and that the book (Ghost Stories of an Antiquary) should be published with only the four illustrations as a tribute to his friend.It has been suggested the McBryde was the love of MRJ's life. MRJ is known to have picked flowers from the Fellows Garden at King's and travelled up with them on the train to McBryde's funeral in Lancashire where he tossed them into his friend's grave.After McBryde's death, MRJ arranged for the publication of The Story of a Troll Hunt with Cambridge University Press and wrote an introduction for the volume. One of its illustrations is a cartoon of MRJ, James McBryde and William Johnson Stone (KC 1895) sitting on a bench on the Backs plotting their adventure. MRJ was named legal guardian of McBryde's daughter Jane who was born six months after her father's death. MRJ, the consummate Victorian bachelor, maintained a lifelong friendship with McBryde's widow Gwendolyn and his daughter Jane. The two women became a surrogate family for him.
The McBryde family were also friends of Peter and Wendy author J M Barrie. In reference to M R James, children's book 'The Five Jars' (which was written for Jane McBryde) Barrie once told Gwendolyn McBryde that he 'kept a copy by his bed and frequently read it before going to sleep each night'. The Five Jars didn't become a contemporary classic like Peter Pan or The Wind in the Willows, but it was notable for attracting critical acclaim from other authors notably that of JM Barrie. An attractive literary association and a handsome copy of this classic children's work.