[Rudyard Kipling: 'Edition de Luxe in facsimile', printed on silk and satin.] 'The Absent-Minded Beggar by Rudyard Kipling': 'Souvenir [...] presented by Mrs. Langtry on the occasion of the 100th Performance of the "Degenerates" at the Garrick'.

Rudyard Kipling; R. Caton Woodville [Daily Mail; Lillie Langtry; Garrick Theatre, London]
Publication details: 
'Copyright in England and the United States by the Daily Mail Publishing Co., 1899.' ['Eyre Spottiswoode Printers to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty'.
SKU: 22560

An attractive and unusual item, tastefully printed in green and red on both sides of a 30.5 x 60 cm strip, entirely covered in cream satin, and edged in silk ribbon, folding into a triptych each panel of which is 30.5 x 20 cm. In extremely good condition, all the more remarkable considering the ephemeral nature of the item. As folded into itself, the item has a front cover carrying the title in green ink, with a photograph of Kipling printed in red; and the back cover carries the royal crest of the Queen's printers Eyre and Spottiswoode. Once folded out, the inner side has printed on its outer panels a facsimile of the poem in Kipling's handwriting, with R. Caton Woodville's drawing of '"A gentleman in kharki. [sic]"' in red in the central panel. The third panel on the reverse (not visible when the item is folded up) has the publication details and the following note in capitals: 'This souvenir is presented by Mrs. Langtry on the occasion of the 100th performance of the "Degenerates" at the Garrick Theatre. For permission to use Mr. Kipling's poem Mrs. Langtry has made to the "Daily Mail" a contribution of £100 for the benefit of the wives and children of the reservists fighting in South Africa.' The entry for the Victoria and Albert copy (Museum No. S.1218-1982), states that the present item marked 'the 100th performance of Sydney Grundy's The Degenerates at the Garrick Theatre on Friday 24th October 1899. Lillie Langtry, who was presenting the play as part of her season at the theatre and who was playing Mrs. Trevelyan in the production, recited Kipling's poem The Absent-Minded Beggar from the stage after the final curtain, and presented every audience member with one of these souvenirs. [...] To use the poem for the souvenir Mrs. Langtry subscribed a hundred pounds (worth about twelve thousand pounds in 2018) to The Daily Mail fund for the wives and children of the reservists fighting in South Africa. The second Boer War had broken out on 7th October 1899 and the majority of soldiers mobilised for the front were Army Reservists - ex-soldiers whose loss of their civilian income had serious results for their dependents. [...] A number of charitable funds were set up, amongst them one publicised by The Daily Mail proprietor Albert Harmsworth. Kipling wrote this poem on 16th October and sent it to Harmsworth on the 22nd, [...] The Absent-Minded Beggar Fund became an unprecedented success, raising a total of over two hundred and fifty thousand pounds.'