A Farmer's Year, Being his Commonplace Book for 1898 (Signed copy)
This copy owned and signed by gardener William Robinson from Gravetye
First edition. Hardback, bound in the original blue cloth with gilt titling to spine and upper board.20 × 13.5cm, xx +189pp, + 36pp publisher's catalogue to rear.
This copy belonged to Irish gardener William Robinson and bears his ownership signature to the half-title page, signed at Gravetye in 1899. William Robinson (1838–1935) was a gardener and journalist hose ideas about wild gardening spurred the movement that led to the popularising of the English cottage garden, a parallel to the search for honest simplicity and vernacular style of the British Arts and Crafts movement. He purchased the Elizbethan Gravetye Manor in Sussex in 1884 where he created a garden, putting many of his ideas into practice. His books included The Wild Garden and The English Flower Garden, the latter being the bestselling gardening book ever printed.
A non-fiction title by the author of King Solomon's Mines and She. Originally issued as a serial for Longman's Magazine, A Farmer's Year is his diary for 1898, recounting the work on his wife's Norfolk estate, month by month, together with observations on rural life and the state of agriculture in general, which was suffering due to the population drift to the towns and competition from cheaper imported food. His descriptions of country life are beautifully written, but he does not ignore the hardship faced by many farmers and their workers.
The book is illustrated with 36 monochrome plates by G Leon Little, and 2 maps.
A good plus copy, and scarce to find with William Robinson's signature. There is light rubbing to the corners and spine ends of the blue cloth. The inner binding is sound but starting to weaken at the half-title (but remaining secure). There is light scattered foxing throughout with heavier tanning and foxing to the adverts to the rear, but the books remains in strong readable condition, and all plates are present.