London, New York: Atheneum, Macmillan, 1979-1982. Goodall. Small Oblong Octavos. (14 x 19 cm.) Three volumes. Deep Maroon, Botanical Green, Smokey Green boards, respectively. Pictorial dust jackets. Very slight cocking to one volume. All in all, a Fine set. Item #34
Created for young people, this set of bright, colorful and lively books, illustrated by John S. Goodall, emphasizes the social life and amusements of Edwardian Era England (1901-1910). Family holidays, amusements and pastimes of early 20th Century England are depicted in twinkling watercolor illustrations. Each little, wordless book contains more than 60 illustrations, the majority spanning two pages. There is a "My Fair Lady" sensibility of sweet opulence; middle-class families holiday at the seashore, aristocrats play games of croquet in beautiful clothes, organ grinders play music in the streets and dancehall and opera performers stand at the footlights of the stage. Pictures of indoor ice rinks, amusement park rides and glamorous balls shine and sparkle. Goodall was one of England's most beloved illustrators of children's books but this came later in his career; Goodall published these little illustrated albums in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was house-bound, taking care of his very sick wife, creating this miniature art while sitting at her bedside.