We Happy Few, Golden Cockerel Press


A rare, limited edition book from the Golden Cockerel Press in 1946, with wood engravings by John O’Conner.


We Happy Few, Golden Cockerel Press

We Happy Few is a very personal anthology by the author and publisher Owen Rutter, published by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1946.

This anthology was compiled by Owen Rutter (1889-1944) during World War II. Owen Rutter was a successful writer and a partner in the Golden Cockerel Press. He died in 1944 before the book could be printed. This book, We Happy Few, was originally intended to be a much larger anthology called Here is England. After his death Owen Rutter’s wife Dorothy selected and compiled the material for Christopher Sandford at the Golden Cockerel Press. This lovely book includes eleven specially commissioned wood engravings by John O’Conner (b. 1913).

We Happy Few is a rare book from one of the great private presses, only 750 numbered copies were produced.

We Happy Few is a patriotic and inspirational compilation of poems, extracts from Shakespeare, speeches by Winston Churchill, accounts of a voyage of Sir Francis Drake, Nelson at Trafalgar, the Battle of Britain and more. We Happy Few is completed by a moving letter from an officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II that gave instructions for the letter to be delivered to his parents in the event of his losing his life in his country’s cause.

The three categories of the book are: Britain at War, Britain at Sea and Britain in the Air.

John O’Conner was a master wood engraver and worked on several books for the Golden Cockerel Press. His wood engravings in this book wonderfully convey the atmosphere of Britain at this time of war.

This copy of We Happy Few is numbered 201 of 750. It is in very good condition, printed on heavy deckle-edge paper, hardback, quarter-bound in blue cloth with decorative paper boards. Size: 19 x 13cm (7 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches).

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