Here then, is he, hat and all:
Precious Things: Andrew J McKiernan
When I was a little kid, my grandparents on my mother's side were a huge influence on my early development as a reader. My grandmother was the night-cleaner for our local Public Library, and she would often take me with her when she worked. While she cleaned, I would wander the eerie half-darkness of the library shelves, allowed to choose whatever books I wanted to reader... even from the Adult or Reference Sections! And, at their home, my grandfather had an old set of Charles Dickens books in hardcover that he had been given as a young boy in the 1920s. I would spend hours at my grandparent's house just leafing through those books; first, when I was too young to read them, just looking at the illustrations, but later on delving deep into the strange Victorian worlds of David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.
I adored those books. I coveted them.
Released sometime in the early 1920s (they have no dates on them), the Charles Dickens books were printed in London by Collins Clear-Type Press. The books are small, almost palm-sized. Cloth-bound. Burgundy in colour with gold text and decoration on the spine. Each one is illustrated by artists as wonderful and diverse in style as AA Dixon, J Eyre, AH Buckland and WHC Groome (did illustrators only have initials intead of first names back then?). Oliver Twist is 'Illustrated throughout' with 'Ten Photographs in Character', with photographs by FW Burford of young urchins and grizzled old men in period costume, each one meticulously staged. It is an amazing and beautiful collection.