The Tailor of Gloucester
(LSP Digital Books Publishing, July 17, 2014)
• All original illustrations remastered and digitally enhanced.The mayor of Gloucester commissioned a coat for his wedding to a very poor tailor. After he cut all the silk and satin for the mayor's coat, the tailor closed the door of his little shop in Westgate Street and went home. Everything was ready to sew together in the morning, all measured and sufficient, except that there was wanting just one single skein of cherry-coloured twisted silk... Beatrix Potter's third book is set on Christmas Eve, when the animals can talk, the streets are covered with snow and people sit by the fire at home, and the season's spirit is reflected in the generous feelings behind the plot and the images."The Tailor of Gloucester" was always Beatrix Potter favourite among her own books. It was published for the first time in 1902 in a private printing and dedicated to Freda Moore, sister of Noel, to whom Beatrix Potter dedicated "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". By this time "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", Beatrix Potter's first book, had already become a huge success and its publisher, Frederick Moore, offered Beatrix a contract for a bound edition of "The Tailor of Gloucester". The first trade edition was published in October 1903, only a month or two after "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin".The drawings Beatrix Potter made for "The Tailor of Gloucester" are considered among her most beautiful. To draw the coat of the mayor, Beatrix Potter visited many times the Victoria & Albert Museum, then a recent institution. The eighteenth century coat and waistcoat that inspired her are still kept in the museum. The place where the tailor's shop stood, in College Court, near Westgate Street, one of the main streets of the city, in the oldest part of Gloucester, is now a popular Beatrix Potter private shop and museum run by volunteers, one of Gloucester most visited. The interior and the façade of the house were remodeled according to Beatrix Potter's original illustrations.Among several curious stories regarding this book, one of the most touching is told by Linda Lear in her biography of Beatrix Potter. There she quotes a review of "The Tailor of Gloucester" published in "The Tailor & Cutter", a London trade journal: "We think it is by far the prettiest story connected with tailoring we have ever read, and as it is full of that spirit of peace on earth, goodwill to men, we are not ashamed to confess that it brought the moisture to our eyes, as well as the smile to our face. It is got up in choicest style and illustrated by twenty-seven of the prettiest pictures it is possible to imagine."