Good Wives: A Story for Girls (Being a Sequel to Little Women), by Louisa May Alcott
London: Ward, Lock, & Bowden, Limited; Lily Series.
No date. Circa 1891 (this is the year Bowden joined Ward and Lock in partnership). Inscription inside is dated 1895 and reads, "Prize for Merit to Mabel Ireland, Xmas 1895".
Hardcover in Good antiquarian condition. Decorative gold and silver colored gilt on the cover is bright and clean with moderate shelf-wear rubbing. Tear-drop shaped stain on front cover (please see closeup photo).
Spine remains remarkably bright and clean, beautiful for shelf display.
Front paper is partially torn and missing (please see photo).
Binding is secure but cracked in middle the middle of the book exposing hinges in that area. Pages are clean throughout with a few showing a some marks as though other pieces of paper were tucked in the book over the years.
Some bumping to external edges of book, corners, and top of spine.
About the book and "The Lily Series" Decorations:
First published in 1869, Good Wives is the first sequel to Little Women. Louisa May Alcott originally titled the book LITTLE WOMEN PART Second. British publishers then republished her work under a variety of their own titles including LITTLE WIVES, NICE WIVES, LITTLE WOMEN WEDDED, and LITTLE WOMEN MARRIED. These slightly ghastly titles inspired the later title of GOOD WIVES (as seen here). This book was followed by Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). This beautiful late Victorian edition was published as part of Ward, Lock, & Bowded, Limited, Lily Series”.
Following the Industrial Revolution, new printing technologies allowed publishers to create affordable and attractive books that were previously unattainable for the newly literate middle class. The ornate bindings showcased the publisher’s decorative talents and was intended to attract potential buyers. Silver stamping was notoriously difficult to use effectively, the dyes for the gilt stamping were gut with a grain specifically designed to enhance sheen, and the black stamping added an extra lavishness as each color is printed separately and at additional cost to the printer. Even today, these bindings are strikingly beautiful.