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First edition of The Black Robe in 1881


Chatto & Windus were London publishers noted for their fiction, general literature and quality of book design.  The firm was founded by John Camden Hotten (1832-1873) during 1855, on the present site of the Ritz Hotel.  It later occupied various other addresses in Piccadilly.  When Hotten died, his successor was Andrew Chatto (d. 1913 aged 73) who had been with the firm since he was fifteen.  He bought the business from Hotten's widow for £25,000 and was joined in partnership, initially by William Edward Windus who was relatively inactive in the firm, and subsequently by Percy Spalding in 1876.  Chatto & Windus issued its first catalogue in July 1874 and bought Belgravia in 1876.  Chatto was an aggressive publisher but had a reputation for fairness.  He acted as his own reader and always negotiated himself with Mudie's and W. H. Smith's.  He retired in 1911.

First edition of The Law and the Lady in 1875

The firm's authors included Collins, Walter Besant, Ouida, Charles Reade, R. L. Stevenson and Anthony Trollope.  Chatto & Windus became Collins's main publishers, commencing in 1875 with The Law and the Lady.  The Haunted Hotel and Heart and Science first appeared in Belgravia, together with four of Collins's short stories.  Altogether Chatto published twelve first English editions, each book being separately negotiated:


The Law and the lady (1875)

The Two Destinies (1876)

The Haunted Hotel (1879)

The Fallen Leaves (1879)

Jezebel's Daughter (1880)

The Black Robe (1881)

Heart and Science (1883)     

"I Say No" (1884)

The Evil Genius (1886)

Little Novels (1887)

The Legacy of Cain (1889)

Blind Love (1890)


Collins had always been keen to see his books in cheap editions to appeal to the widest possible range of readers.  He had previously suggested the idea to George Smith, who felt it would not be in their joint interests, and to Bentley who was prepared to proceed.  Ultimately, however, Collins reached agreement in November 1874 with Andrew Chatto for a large inclusive payment for a seven year lease of his available copyrights.  Chatto & Windus issued thirteen titles during 1875 in 6s and 2s editions.  Three copyrights retained by Smith, Elder were excluded.  These, together with Bentley's A Rogue's Life, did not appear in Chatto's advertisements until November 1890.  They then listed twenty-nine titles which were published in various editions well into the twentieth century.  The formats included the superior 'New Illustrated Library' and 'Piccadilly Novels'; 'library' and 'popular editions' in limp cloth; pictorial boards; and eventually paper wrappers at sixpence.

Antonina, Basil, Hide and Seek, After Dark, The Dead Secret, The Queen of Hearts, The Woman in White, No Name, My Miscellanies, Armadale, The Moonstone, Man and Wife, Poor Miss Finch, The New Magdalen, Miss or Mrs?: and Other Stories in Outline, The Frozen Deep: and Other Stories, The Law and The Lady, The Two Destinies, A Rogue's Life, The Fallen Leaves, The Haunted Hotel, Jezebel's Daughter, The Black Robe, Heart and Science,"I Say No", The Guilty River, The Evil Genius, Little Novels, The Legacy of Cain, and Blind Love.


The Frozen Deep - Chatto & Windus Piccadilly Novels

Heart and Science - Chatto & Windus edition in green cloth.

The Black Robe - Chatto & Windus yellowback.

Piccadilly Novels

Small format with limp boards




Warner, O., Chatto & Windus: A Brief Account of the Firm's Origin, History and Development, London 1973



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