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BRITISH PLATE BOOKS



C. Taylor. The Elegant Repository and New - Print Magazine. London: C. Taylor, Jan. 1791-Jan. 1792. Quarto. Rebound in 1/4 leather. 35 copper engravings and text. Missing Plate II, No. VIII. Some foxing throughout and a few other blemishes. Overall, a handsome volume.

An attractive volume containing "Engravings from Original Pictures of the most pleasing Subject, furnished by the Art of Design." The images are split between stipple genre scenes (such as "Enjoyment" and "Moderation"...) and engraved scenes of England and elsewhere. The views are not attributed, but the stipples are by Taylor. An unusual and delightful plate book. $650



George Cruikshank. The Genius of George Cruikshank. 2 vols. Large quarto. Each volume has the same spine title and half title, but one has title: An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank by William Makepeace Thackeray and the other An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank by John Wilson. London, 1840 and 1843. These two essays provide octavo title pages and text that precede many leaves of text and prints that are inlaid into large quarto leaves. Volumes contain 234 leaves and 211 leaves respectively. Half leather binding with some water induced distressing to the boards. Gold stamping on spines and boards. A lovely and interesting set.

These unique, extra illustrated books provide a splendid study in word and example of George Cruikshank's art. The art pieces range from small woodcut and steel engraved book illustrations to foldout hand colored separately issued caricatures. There are seven examples of the latter, and eleven aquatints from W.H. Ireland's Life of Napoleon Bonaparte (1823) [see Tooley, 278], 12 colored plates from The Wit's Magazine, among others. A more detailed list of illustrations can be provided upon request. $3,600



Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett. The Comic History of England. Two volumes. London: Published at the Punch Office, 1855. Second issue after the separate parts edition. Octavo. Original publisher's gold stamped cloth covers show Clio instructing the British lion in history, which is also on the title page. Half title printed in red. With engravings by John Leech; 20 hand colored steel engravings and numerous wood cuts. Ref.: Tooley, see 295 for an earlier variant. Denver.

Beginning in the 1840s, comic versions of series subjects became quite popular, and a major part of their appeal were the humorous illustrations that accompanied the works. The most popular of these artists was John Leech (1817-1864), whose warm and generous wit perfectly fit the temper of the period. This volume, with a humorous text by Gilbert a Beckett, contains twenty lovely hand colored illustrations and 240 woodcut illustrations of scenes from British history. For school students steeped in serious history, here was wonderful comic relief. Tooley concludes that this is "among the most popular and best of Leech's work." (See p. 244-5). $450


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