Old Treasure: Beauty and the Beast


We have had this lovely book for several years now. I found it at the used bookstore for just a few dollars and I’m so happy to own it! It’s Beauty and the Beast, by Marie LePrince de Beaumont and it is illustrated by Hilary Knight. I absolutely adore the illustrations! They are elegant, vivid, and clean, full of flowing lines and organic shapes. I’m no art historian, but I think they may be reminiscent of Art Deco graphics. I am mesmerized by all the bird and feather motifs throughout the book. Beauty looks rather like Audrey Hepburn.

MacMillan published this 10- by 13-inch book in 1963. I don’t know if this is a first printing or subsequent one. The book was printed in Italy and was previously owned by Gary Dorville, whoever he may be.

Beauty's Merchant Father Says Good-Bye

Beauty says good-bye to her merchant father. Her sisters want him to return with sumptuous gifts. Beauty reluctantly asks only for a rose.

"... a Beast so horrible that he nearly fainted."

“Therewith he heard a great noise and saw coming toward him a Beast so horrible that he nearly fainted.”

Beauty Meets Beast

“Beauty could not keep from trembling when she saw its horrible face; but she mustered her courage as best she could, and when the monster asked her if she had come of her own accord, she answered, trembling, that she had.”

"Do you not find me hideously ugly?"

“There are many men who are more monstrous than you,” Beauty said, “and I like you better, with the face you have, than those who beneath a human countenance conceal a false, corrupt, ungrateful heart.”

Beast Is Transformed

Beauty’s life with her husband “was a long and happy one, because it was established upon virtue.”

I’m going to look for other books from this MacMillan series, but those listed on the back cover of this book aren’t illustrated by Hilary Knight.

Glory Be to the Internet! It seems Mr. Knight is most famous for his illustration of the Eloise books. From what I have seen online, none of his other illustration work looks at all like this.

17 Responses to “Old Treasure: Beauty and the Beast”

  • Kat
    June 3, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for sharing! When I was a girl I would sit in the library and read all the illustrated fairytale books. I still love them.

    These illustrations are wonderful. The first reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley. I would love to see the entire book sometime!

    I have editions of Undine and Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Arthur Rackham, if you’d care to see them.


  • Sara
    June 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I love fairy tales, too. I am particularly captivated by older versions and always despair when Disney does another fairy tale movie because the Disney images thereafter become the default.

    Yes, the illustration in this book does look like Beardsley, which is considered Art Nouveaux, I believe. Honestly Art Deco and Art Nouveaux seem to be fairly closely related (http://www.modernsilver.com/artnouveaudeco.htm  and   http://www.neatorama.com/2007/03/20/whats-the-difference-art-deco-vs-art-nouveau/).

    I have a Cinderella that you might like. I’ll show it sometime, and yes, I would absolutely LOVE to see your books.


  • Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves
    January 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    how have i not seen this before? awesome!


  • Sara
    January 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!


  • Me
    February 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I have the book you have except the cover on mine is like a moss green with a pink rose on it with a wierd looking bug sitting on the rose the title is on the front the word Beauty is written in the same pink as the rose and the other words are written in light green. Below the title is “A Fairy Tale By Marie Leprince de Beaumont. I loved this book when I was in Elementary school in the sixties and yearslater I went back to my old school and tried to buy it from the library. I wasn’t able to get it but a friend knew a principle at another school and she was able to buy one and gave it to me as a birthday present. It is beautiful. The illustrations are just entrancing.


  • Sara
    February 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you for your comment! I couldn’t agree more. The illustrations are enchanting. I get tons of views on Flickr for these photographs. I’m so glad to share them with others.


  • Stephanie
    April 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Oh! At last!! Thank you for posting this book! This was my favorite book as a child and for years I have searched for it! I could not remember the name of the illustrator, but now I know I will be able to find a copy!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!!


    • Sara
      April 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Stephanie, I’m so glad you found this post helpful. It’s truly an amazing book. I hope you do find a copy for yourself!


  • Ann
    April 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    This book was my childhood favorite. Alas – it was my sister’s, but I have bought another copy on the net (and one since for my other sister’s daughter).

    My research indicates that the 1963 edition is the original publication. The book, with Hilary Knight’s illustrations, was re-released in 1990.

    The Art Nouvueau illustrations are simply fantastic. My favorites are the dinner scene you included above and that of Beauty’s apartment. With such skill for imagining and rendering pure fantasy, it’s a pity Knight’s other illustrations are not like this. IMHO, his Cinderella drawings are the closest.

    Thank you for sharing these lovely works!


    • Sara
      April 29, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Hello Ann,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I completely agree that the illustrations are fantastic, and I couldn’t find anything else by Hilary Knight that looked at all similar. I’ll try to check out his Cinderella drawings sometime. Thanks for the tip! And thanks for writing me!


  • Katie
    July 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I am so happy to have found this. My father bought me this book as a gift as a small child and it was lost several years ago. I have been searching and searching, but not knowing the name of the illustrator, was unable to find anything not related to Disney. I am so happy to finally know the illustrator and will be able to track down a copy of this book I loved so much. Thank you~! <3


    • Sara
      July 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Glad to help, Katie!


  • Ann the English Teacher
    August 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a different Ann than the previous poster. I echo her post exactly! I spent every chance I could get during my elementary school library hour taking in this wonderful book. Some years back I searched and searched for it on the internet but didn’t know the publisher, publication date, or author. Next to my children’s Bible, it’s the only other book I’m dying to own again. Thank you for posting these beautiful images!!!


    • Sara
      August 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Hi Ann,
      It’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to tell me you love this book as much as I do. I bet you’ll be able to find a copy. Good luck!


  • Nina
    April 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I had this version as a child and it made a huge impact on me because of the amazing illustrations. I’ve been looking for it on the web for years because I wanted to try to find a copy somewhere for my kids (who also goes to Waldorf:) Once again-thanks!


  • Kris G
    May 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I bought a copy of this at a book fair around 1967. Even as a young child I appreciated the beautiful illustrations. Over the years I misplaced it. I tried to find it online but I didn’t remember the illustrators name. Today my sister gave me a bag of books, from her grandsons to my grandchildren. As I looked through it time stood still. Evidently my niece had the book and it ended up in my sisters collection. There it was, with my signature in it. I cannot tell you how magic that moment was.


  • Caitlyn
    September 9, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Does anyone know where I can find this book? I’ve searched everywhere, and no luck.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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