The 195 copies on handmade paper and 10 copies on vellum are described in The Twentieth Century Book as “one of the most handsome books ever to be published in the country. And the illustrations are ravishing”.
Twenty of the original copperplates are currently available from Henry Sotheran’s of Sackville Street in London and Aquila Books of Calgary in Canada. The plates go on display in the Piccadilly gallery from June 22-July 20.
Whistler completed work for a number of books, including those by contemporary writers such as Evelyn Waugh and Walter de la Mare as well as classics such the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.
In The Work of Rex Whistler by L Whistler and R Fuller, however, his efforts for Gulliver’s Travels – combining 1920s experimentalism with scenes set within a rococo marginal frames – are dubbed “His finest illustrations…in this genre he never did anything better or indeed as good.”
Each plate is available with a later suite of all the illustrations from the book, printed in 1970 by the bookseller HM Fletcher. Twenty sets are on offer with an original copperplate priced individually. Each set is priced at £3500 or £3000 for vignettes.