London Types. William Nicholson. 1897. Lithographic prints, after woodcuts, from the original edition of 1897. Each 9 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (25 x 20 cm.) Collection: Liss Fine Art

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Although no contract for London Toper has come to light, the terms are outlined in a letter from Heinemann to Nicholson of 9 December 1897, `With regard to the price,' writes Heinemann, `I agree to pay you ten guineas for each block and for the cover; and three guineas for a complete set of hand-coloured copies, mounted as before.' It is clear from this letter that Nicholson had earlier provided Heinemann with a list of possible subjects for London Types. The publisher's comments show that the planning of the series was still in its early stages at this time.

Rudyard Kipling was invited to write verses for the series sometime in the summer of 1898, but, as W. E. Henley remarked, he `wouldn't or couldn't' accept the invitation. The commission was given instead - apparently at short notice - to Henley. In a letter of 18 August 1898, Henley writes: 'Nicholson has done 12 admirable London types, and I'm trying to run each into verse. I've done three - to each his quatorzain. But the thing lacks an end ... I ought to be at Margate or thereabouts; but I'll scarce get there before October now.' Henley's verses for London Types earned him £75.

For this publication Nicholson provided a cover design and thirteen woodcuts. The thirteen woodcuts are: Bus Driver (Knightsbridge Road); Guardsman (The Horse Guards); Hawker (Kensington); Beef-eater (The Tower); Sandwich-Man (Trafalgar Square); Coster (Hammersmith); Lady (Rotten Row); Bluecoat Boy (Newgate Street); Policeman (Constitution Hill); Newsboy (The City); Drum-Major (Wimbledon Common); Flower Girl (Any Corner); Barmaid (Any Bar). The Bus Driver was not used in the Library and Popular editions. The thirteen cuts are all approximately 10 x 9 inches in size. The surviving London Types blocks are listed on pp.240-1.

London Types was published in three English language editions and two French editions.

Created 30 January 2015