Josiah Wood Whymper and his take on Puss in Boots

I found another gem in Public Domain: a book Puss in Boots, rewritten by unknown author and illustrated by one of best engravers from second half of 19 th century – Josiah Wood Whymper (1813-1903).

Puss in Boots, 1900

Puss in Boots, 1900

Book was published by John Murray, well known London publisher in 1900. It has twelve colored plates (with a title) and this is how Josiah Wood Whymper saw the story about Puss in Boots:

Youngest son got nothing but the cat

Youngest son got nothing but the cat

Puss wants boots!

Puss wants boots!

Yes, they are just fine!

Yes, they are just fine!

Kings always liked people (or booted cats) with gifts

Kings always liked people (or booted cats) with gifts

Very soon all doors are open for the Puss

Very soon all doors are open for the Puss

Puss tells how his master has been robbed

Puss tells how his master has been robbed

Everybody has to lie how rich is Marquis of Carabas

Everybody has to lie how rich is Marquis of Carabas

The most dangerous part of the plot: confrontation with a magician

The most dangerous part of the plot: confrontation with a magician

The cat tricks the magician and eats him when he transforms in a mouse

The cat tricks the magician and eats him when he transforms in a mouse

Miller's youngest son becomes a Marquis

Miller’s youngest son becomes a Marquis

Happy ending: the trickster becomes a prime minister!

Happy ending: the trickster becomes a prime minister!

I found another interesting fact: black and white prints were sold for 3/4 pence and colored ones for 2 pence. In those time a lot of books were printed in black and white techniques and colored by hand later. After improving the color printing they started to print books with empty pages in place of illustrations and later glue color plates on them.

In both cases a lot of additional work was needed and many titles were available in both (black and white – cheaper and color – more expensive) versions. I can’t say if this book was hand painted or color plates were glued, but looking at the quelity I am inclined to the later option.

Anyway – results are really impressive!

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