First edition. Hardcover. Leather-bound. Thick quarto (325 x 240 mm.), pp. iv + ii + 201pp, with 40 b/w illustrations and coloured frontispiece (illustrations from the Royal Collections). Exquisitely bound by Blacklock of Manchester, England; their ticket to top corner of front endpaper. A contemporary binding of full crushed morocco, dazzling and richly decorated in gilt on covers and spine with morocco onlay decorations. The covers with gilt twisting and interweaving borders of double fillets, diamond centre panel enclosing a gilt blocked repeat designed. The spine divided into six panels, the five bands gilt ruled, lettered in the second and fourth panel, the others elaborately gilt tooled in repeat pattern, the edges of the boards and turn-ins ruled and tooled in gilt, page edges gilt and heavily gauffered, floral patterned endpapers, half-title and frontis present, title-page in red and black with beautiful device. Illustrated plates throughout, each with a captioned tissue-guard. The frontispiece is now loosely inserted and is signed and dated in ink by Queen Victoria (see images). Verso title states: " Text and illustrations entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897, by Boussod, Valadon & Co. in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington." Thr Preface by Richard R. Holmes who was librarian to the Queen. The colophon states: " The text of this edition of Queen Victorian by Richard R. Holmes, F.S.A. Librarian to the Queen has been set up and printed by in London by J. S. Virtue & Co., Ld., and the plates have been engraved and printed by Boussod, Valadon & Co., at Asnieres-sur-Seine near Paris, 1897." Provenance: Small armorial bookplate to front pastedown of William Pollitt. Condition: VERY GOOD. The binding tight and secure with the hinges intact. There is some light rubbing to the extremities at the spine ends and points. The covers are nicely preserved but there is some fading and marking noticeable to the lower board. The contents are near immaculate. The frontispiece has been reduced and is now loosely inserted, this was probably removed to allow the monarch to sign it. Exquisite.
Notes: Beautifully printed & illustrated biography by the Queen's librarian. Signed frontis by the monarch and presented in a magnificent exhibition standard binding. Colonel Sir William Pollitt VD DL was an English railway manager and civic dignitary. From 1886 to 1902, he served as general manager of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, which was renamed Great Central Railway in 1897. He was knighted in 1899 and appointed High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1908.