London: Macmillan and Company, 1906. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is a two-volume British first edition set with interesting provenance. Churchill's first biographic work concentrates on Lord Randolph's career in Parliament after 1880. Lord Randolph died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. His son Winston was 20 years old. When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was still an itinerant soldier and war correspondent who had yet to write his first book. The son still dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired.
By the time the work was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. By 1906 Churchill had already left his father's political party, prevailed in the same political battle that had terminated his father's career, and was just two years from his first Cabinet post. Churchill was criticized by some reviewers for overplaying his father's accomplishments. Nonetheless, the work was well received both as a frank portrayal of Randolph's extremes and as a showcase for the son's literary talent.
The first edition is aesthetically pleasing, featuring deep red cloth, untrimmed page edges, gilt stamping, and the family coat of arms on the front covers. However, the red cloth binding of this edition proved quite susceptible to fading and wear. Here is a very good set with interesting provenance. This copy comes to us from the collection of Oscar-winning actor and director Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough (1923-2014). Moreover, the front pastedowns of both volumes bear the armorial bookplates of Henry Arthur Lascelles. Lt. Col. Henry Arthur Lascelles (1842-1913) fought in the Indian Mutiny and in the Ashanti Campaign. He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of the Rifle Brigade. He was invested as a Member, Royal Victorian Order (M.V.O.)
The red cloth bindings remain quite respectably bright, with lightly bumped corners, and only modestly faded spines that retain good color and bright gilt. The only noteworthy blemish is a roughly 1.75 x .75 inch spot of moisture exposure and consequent discoloration at the upper rear cover of Volume I at the hinge. The contents are bright with light intermittent spotting throughout.
Reference: Cohen A17.1, Woods/ICS A8(a), Langworth p.69. Item #003520