The Ship That Sailed to Mars. A Fantasy - William Timlin 1923 - George G. Harrap & Company Limited, London - First Edition ‘I will go to Mars; sailing by way of the Moon, and the more friendly planets.’

Beware, for there is magic within this large tome. A beautiful, finely bound first edition of William Timlin’s wonderful, lavishly illustrated tale of fantasy and adventure,
The Ship That Sailed to Mars, featuring 48 stunning mounted colour plates accompanying 48 mounted leaves of equally gorgeous calligraphic text also by Timlin.

Begun as a project to distract his young son, architect William M. Timlin’s masterpiece tells the story of a courageous Old Man, who despite dissuasion from scientists and astronomers, sets about designing himself a ship to sail to Mars. With the help of the Elf King’s favourite metalworker, and a lot of fairies, he eventually completes building his vessel, launching his marvellous machine into the skies, and encountering all manner of creatures – enchanting and otherwise – on his magical journey to Mars.
  Timlin sent the book to the publisher, George Harrap, who was so delighted by both the illustrations and Timlin’s charming calligraphic text, that it was printed without typesetting.

William Mitcheson Timlin was born in Ashington, Northumberland in 1893. Educated in England, he immigrated to South Africa in 1912, where he studied art and exhibited his illustrations – in pen, ink, and watercolour – regularly, while working as an architect. He also wrote stories, composed music, illustrated periodicals, produced watercolours fantasies, painted in oil, and produced etchings. His book,
The Ship that Sailed to Mars, was published in 1923, and the film rights were immediately purchased in the United States, where Timlin was popular during his lifetime, though no film ever eventuated. It has been asserted that the illustrations to this book placed Timlin in the top ten of fantasy illustrators alongside Rackham, Dulac, Goble, and Nielsen. He died in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1943.

One of 2000 copies produced.

References: Horne,
The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators, 413. Dalby, The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration, 102-3.

Quarto (binding size 31.1x24.4cm), pp. [2] 96 leaves, comprising 48 leaves with mounted full-page colour plates, and 48 leaves of mounted calligraphic text printed in black, blue and grey, both on grey paper.
  Elegantly bound in full dark blue morocco with gilt titles to spine, gilt border to boards, marbled endpapers   Condition: Fine in fine binding.   Ref: 110618   Price: HK$ 22,000