Esprit Jackets

There is a special type of ReproJacket labelled the Esprit. These have been designed for books whose original jackets are distinguished by their absence. Until the early decades of the 20thC, British books were usually issued with a dustwrapper which was very plain and expected to be discarded by its first owner as soon as it was first placed on the library shelf. These books were often highly decorated on their boards, making the original wrapper even more unattractive in comparison. The result is that these books have spent their lives without benefit of jacket, and the Esprit jackets are intended to provide both protection and embellishment for these senior members of our collections.

The jackets have been designed by replicating and restoring the original decorative boards and spine, and using the flaps to include contemporaneous material by way of reviews and advertising matter.

The initial range includes titles by Jane Austen, Kenneth Grahame, Bradley & Palmer, and Arthur Ransome. Even if you don't have the books you will want to frame these Esprit ReproJackets!
Doctor Syn, 1st edn 1915 (Russell Thorndike [as Thorndyke])Russell Thorndike's first novel, written in his late twenties, was Doctor Syn.  This melodramatic thriller described the life and death of Christopher Syn of Dymchurch in Kent parson, pirate and smuggler chief.  The first issue by Thomas Nelson in 1915 misspelt the author's surname as Thorndyke.

Here we have an Esprit ReproJacket which shows the book's decorated boards together with the front panel of the original jacket.

ReproJacket #317-A-1 Esprit, size 197x490mm.
Gilbert White's Selborne, 7th edn 1889 (J E Harting)James Edmund Harting edited the definitive edition of The Natural History of Selborne by Rev Gilbert White, including appendices of White's correspondence in which the content was amplified. The book was copiously illustrated by Thomas Bewick.

Here we have an Esprit ReproJacket for the 7th edition in 1889.

ReproJacket #198-G-1 Esprit, size 232.9x568mm.
Old Peter's Russian Tales, 1st edn 1916 (Arthur Ransome)Arthur Ransome's first book for children was published by Jacks of London in 1916, and was a retelling of several folk tales from Russia, where he lived at the time. It was an instant success and has never been out of print.

Ransome secured the assistance of a highly talented local illustrator, Dimitri Mitrokhin, who produced several wonderful colour plates and many smaller woodcuts for the book. It is said that Ransome got these back to London in a diplomatic bag.

Here we have that very first edition, now extremely rare and valuable, with a simple but effective design for the boards and spine from Mitrokhin. The back panel contains one of his plates, depicting the witch Baba Yaga who figures in one of the most familiar tales, and the flaps carry some early reviews of the work, advertising material and a contemporary photograph of the author.

ReproJacket #1-A-1 Esprit, size 227.6x567mm.
Pride & Prejudice, 1894 Allen edn (Jane Austen)This is the famous and sought-after Peacock edition of Jane Austen's best-known work, illustrated by Hugh Thomson with a preface by George Saintsbury. It was first published by George Allen in London in 1894.

The Esprit jacket for this work reproduces the dark blue-green gilt front board and spine; the flaps contain an 1871 image generally considered to represent the author, together with the review by the British Critic periodical dated February 1813, which followed the first publication of the work.

ReproJacket #26-A-2 Esprit, size 185.8x447mm.
Pride and Prejudice, 2005 Dover edn (Jane Austen)This ReproJacket is a variation of the one designed for the 1894 'Peacock edition' from George Allen, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. Dover Publications brought out an edition of this work in 2005 in a larger size without the fabulous peacock board design, and this Esprit ReproJacket has been resized to fit it.

ReproJacket #140-A-2 Esprit, size 221.9x510mm.
The Brown Fairy Book, 1st edn 1904 (Andrew Lang, ed.)Andrew Lang's Brown Fairy Book, first published in 1904, was the ninth in the multicolour series

This is an Esprit jacket showing the gilt spine and front panel on brown cloth boards, together with one of the coloured plates on the back panel. The front flap summarizes the source of the stories from the editor's preface, and the back flap shows the editor and the titles already published at the time.

Illustrations by Henry Justice Ford.

ReproJacket #263-A-1 Esprit, size 187.9x477mm.