RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

01 February 2007

Jock of the Bushveld. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.


Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD. Longman, Green and Co, London, 1907.

Current Selling Prices
$750-$1200 /£350-£650 Want level 25-50 Highish


CHILDREN'S BOOK / ANIMALS /DOGS
Much loved dog story, based on the real experiences of Percy Fitzpatrick who saved this plucky bull terrier, the runt of the pack, from drowning. Set during the gold rush days in the South African veld at the end of the 19th century. FitzPatrick later recounted these adventures as bedtime stories to his four children. Rudyard Kipling, a good friend of FitzPatrick, occasionally took part in these story-telling evenings and encouraged him to collect these tales in book form. He was also instrumental in getting them published. The memorable illustrations for the book were done by Edmund Caldwell. The gilt spine of the book shows a Kudu cow - this is the animal that kicked Jock causing him to become deaf...I won't spoil the story but that Kudu was Jock's nemesis. A great story. Fitzpatrick (1862-1931) educated at Downside was imprisoned for a few months in 1896 for high treason after a failed raid from Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) to aid the conspirators for Cecil Rhodes in Johannesburg, shades of that other great imprisoned Irish storyteller Erskine Childers. Fitzpatrick was knighted in 1902.

VALUE? A book you see quite a bit but it's usually a reprint or at best a second edition. The true first in original publisher's green cloth lettered gilt on spine and on front cover is a $1000 book if very clean. 5000 copies were printed, apparently the original Longman's ledgers show no costing for a jacket and it has, to my knowledge, never been seen in one. After the first edition there were some changes made by the artist when inaccuracies in his drawings were bought to his attention e.g. on pages 65, 337 and 457 drawings of a dung beetle pushing his load show him pushing with his front legs rather than his back and on page 316 a horse is shown trying to climb an impossibly high bank. Book went into nearly a 100 editions and was quickly translated into Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Xhosa and Zulu. A decent but not limpid copy turned up recently at auctionexplorer.com and made $950. A great site, by the way, and good luck to any auction site that takes on the bland monolithic monopoly that is ebay. Nothing against ebay, we list there all the time, but being Brits we hate to see people doing too well.
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