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 tome. A beautiful, near fine first edition – in the rare dust jacket – of William Timlin’s wonderful, lavishly illustrated tale of fantasy and adventure,
The Ship That Sailed to Mars, one of only 2000 copies produced, and featuring 48 stunning mounted colour plates accompanying 48 mounted leaves of equally lovely calligraphic text.

Begun as a project to distract his young son, 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 delighted by both the illustrations and Timlin’s charming calligraphic text, that it was printed without typesetting.

William M. 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.

References: Horne,
The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators, 413. Dalby, The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration, 102-3.
pp. 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. Publisher’s original quarter vellum over grey boards, black stamped cover title, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, in original grey dust jacket.
  Condition: Near fine, light foxing to vellum backstrip, upper front corner slightly bumped, hint of rubbing to boards, some offsetting to endpapers, 2cm closed tear to top edge of first illustration page, in near fine dust jacket, spine toned, a few small nicks to corners and spine ends, some mild rubbing to rear panel.   Ref: 107012   Price: HK$ 60,000