Frederick Warne & Co

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Frederick Warne & Co
Frederick Warne & Co logo.jpg
Parent company Penguin Group
Founded 1865
Founder Frederick Warne
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location London
Official website www.penguin.com/meet/publishers/frederickwarne/

Frederick Warne & Co is a British publisher famous for children's books, particularly those of Beatrix Potter, and for its Observer's Books which have gained a cult following.[1][2]

History[edit]

From Nursery Rhymes.
1899 printing of Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho!

Frederick Warne & Co was founded in 1865 by London bookseller and publisher, Frederick Warne. The business was a replacement of an earlier association between Warne and George Routledge, who went on to found his own publishing company, Routledge.[1][2][3]

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the company had built a good reputation for publishing children's books, publishing illustrated books by well-known authors and artists as Edward Lea, Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane. Toward the end of the century, Frederick Warne had retired, and left the firm to his three sons, Harold, Fruing and Norman. Warne was among the six publishers whom Beatrix Potter submitted her first book, the story of a rabbit called Peter. The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Like the other five firms, Warne turned the proposal down. But the people at the firm changed their minds, when they saw the privately published copy in 1901. They said they would publish the book, as long as the illustrations were drawn in colour. The next year, Warne published THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT, and by Christmas it had sold 20,000 copies. This began a forty-year partnership which saw the publication of twenty two additional little books. Beatrix Potter was engaged to marry Norman Warne, her editor and the youngest of the three Warne brothers. However, he died tragically in 1905, only a few weeks after their engagement.Harold, the eldest brother, took over as Potter's editor. She continued to produce one or two new Little Books each year for the next eight years until her marriage in 1913 to William Heelis. During the next few years Potter turned her attention to her farm work, but when the company fell on hard times and Harold was imprisoned for embezzlement, she came to the rescue with another new title to support "the old firm." Potter, who had no children, left the rights to her works to Warne upon her death. The company continued to publish them; it also brought out several biographical works about its most renowned author. Over the years, Warne also expanded its nonfiction publishing, issuing among others the world-famous Observer books.

In 1983, Warne was bought by Penguin books. It began developing classic book-based children's character brands. The merchandising program was expanded from a base of thirty-five licenses to more than four hundred by the late 1990s. Over the years, Warne acquired a variety of other classic books.

A major motion picture about the life of Beatrix Potter Miss Potter, starring Renée Zellweger as Beatrix Potter and Ewan McGregor as Norman Warne was released in 2006. While the company no longer exists as an independent company, it continues to exist as an imprint of Penguin Group. The company will be collaborating with Sony Pictures Animation and Animal Logic to produce the upcoming Peter Rabbit film, which is set for release in 2018.[4]

Beatrix Potter Books[edit]

As mentioned earlier, Warne printed twenty three books written by Beatrix Potter. These books were mainly written about animals, and were written from 1902-1930. Here is the list of her books, the links to their Wikipedia pages and their first edition dates.

Observer's Books[edit]

From 1937 to 2003, Warne published small, pocket sized books, which were available on many subjects. The aim of these books were to interest the observer. They were called the Observer's books. These books were very popular amongst children. Over the past few years they have become very popular collector items. For the dedicated collector this could be a lifetime's work as there are over 800 variations, some of which are now very rare. The values of the books can vary from 50p to hundreds of pounds. They all include a variety of topics, which include hobbies, art, history, wildlife and many more. The earlier books were printed with paper dust covers up until 1969. These were good for printing but where not very practical because they were very delicate and were easy to rip and stain. From 1970, the covers were protected with a glossy coating. This helped the dust covers protection. These types are often referred to as Glossies. From the late 1970s, Warne decided to laminate the covers to the actual books, so the books were highly protected as they didn't really have any covers. The dust covers from 1937 to 1970 had designs that were colourful and attractive as each one had its own unique colouring of squiggly lines at the top. In 1971, Warne decided to refurbish its books with a more formal dust jacket. These were good but it lost the charm that the original covers had had. I have some pictures below of old and new dust jackets in Observer's books. The first Observer guide was published in 1937, and was on the subject of British Birds. This is now very rare,and a mint copy with a dust cover is worth hundreds of pounds. The same year, Warne published a second book, on British Wild Flowers, a mint copy of this book is worth around £220. By 1941, Warne had published the first six Observer's books. In 1942, a special edition book was bought out on Airplanes. This book had no number in the series, as it was bought out to help people spot enemy planes during World War 2.It was printed again in 1943, and in 1945. When Warne was acquired by Penguin books in 1983, Warne bought out new editions of the Observer's books. These were slightly bigger than the Observer's books, and were in paperback, not hardback. The same year penguin, with permission of Warne, started printing their own, more up to date Observer's books. These again were slightly larger than the originals, but were hardbacks. Like the later original Observer's books, The dust cover were laminated to the actual book. There were two types of the penguin Observer's books, Bloomsbury Observer's, and Claremont Observer's, (of which there were only 12 different editions). Below I have included a list of all the original Observer's books with the dates of there first editions, and two pictures of Observer's books.

List of Observer's Books[edit]

1 British birds – 1937

2 British wild flowers – 1937

3 British butterflies – 1938

4 Trees and shrubs of the British Isles – 1938

5 British wild animals – 1938

6 Freshwater fishes of the British Isles – 1941

7 British grasses sedges and rushes – 1942

Airplanes: 1942

8 Dogs – 1945

9 Horses and ponies – 1949

10 British geology – 1949

11 Aircraft – 1949

12 British ferns – 1950

13 British architecture – 1951

14 The larger British moths – 1952

15 Ships – 1952

16 Music – 1953

17 Common British insects and spiders – 1953

18 British birds eggs – 1953

19 Common fungi – 1954

20 Mosses and liverworts – 1954

21 Automobiles – 1955

22 Weather – 1955

23 Railway locomotives of Britain – 1955

24 Pond life – 1956

25 Garden flowers – 1956

26 Panting and graphic art – 1958

27 Cacti – 1957

28 Sea fishes – 1958

29 Flags – 1959

30 Cats – 1959

31 Sea and seashore – 1962

32 Astronomy – 1962

33 Lichens – 1963

34 Modern art – 1964

35 Furniture – 1964

36 Old English churches – 1965

37 Sculpture – 1965

38 Basic aircraft civil – 1967

39 Basic aircraft military – 1967

40 Commercial vehicles – 1959

41 Heraldry – 1966

42 Postage stamps – 1967

43 Cathedrals – 1972

44 Flowering trees and shrubs for gardens – 1972

45 Zoo animals – 1972

46 House plants – 1972

47 Association football – 1972

48 Manned space flight – 1972

49 Cricket – 1972

50 London – 1973

51 Pottery and porcelain – 1973

52 Unmanned space flight – 1974

53 Motor sport – 1975

54 European costume – 1975

55 British awards and medals – 1974

56 Ancient and Roman Britain – 1976

57 Sewing – 1975

58 Golf – 1975

59 Coarse fishing – 1975

60 Show jumping and eventing – 1976

61 Motorcycles – 1976

62 Glass – 1976

63 Tourist atlas of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – 1976

64 Small craft – 1976

65 Tropical fish – 1976

66 Farm animals – 1976

67 Vegetables – 1977

68 Fly fishing – 1977

69 Coins – 1977

70 Seashells of the British Isles – 1977

71 Fossils – 1977

72 Pets – 1978

73 The Cotswolds and Shakespeare country – 1978

74 Lake district – 1978

75 Firearms – 1978

76 Jazz – 1978

77 Big bands – 1978

78 Castles – 1979

79 Caterpillars – 1979

80 Rocks and minerals – 1979

81 Tennis – 1981

82 Sea fishing – 1980

83 Devon and Cornwall – 1980

84 Roses – 1980

85 Herbs – 1980

86 Country houses – 1980 – NOT PUBLISHED

87 Folk song – 1980

88 Silver – 1980

89 Tanks and other armoured vehicles – 1981

90 Victoriana – 1981

91 World atlas – 1981

92 Vintage cars and pre–war classics – 1982

93 Classic cars after 1945 – 1982

94 Paris – 1982

95 Canals – 1982

96 Gardens of Britain Ireland and Wales – 1982

97 Kitchen antiques – 1982

98 Opera – 1982

99 Observers books – 1982?

100 Wayside and woodland – 2003

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reading, The University of. "Archive of Frederick Warne - University of Reading". www.reading.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Bristol University | Library | Frederick Warne Archive: DM1919". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Frederick Warne - Penguin Books USA". www.penguin.com. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  4. ^ McCue, Michelle (September 28, 2016). "James Corden, Rose Byrne and Daisy Ridley To Star In Live Action Peter Rabbit Movie". WeAreMovieGeeks. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 

External links[edit]