An Astonishing Copy
Extremely Scarce in the Original Cloth Binding
DICKENS, Charles. Dombey and Son. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848.
First edition, first issue (following all points in Smith), in book form of Dickens' twelfth novel, bound from the original monthly parts, with stab-holes present in the inner margins of gatherings. Octavo (8 3/4 x 5 1/2 in; 222 x 138 mm). xvi, [1, errata], [1, blank], 624 pp. Engraved frontispiece, titlepage, and thirty-eight plates after Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz").
Publisher's 'variant' binding of moderate green fine-diaper grain cloth; the front and back covers entirely stamped in blind with a thin double-line border which encloses a rectangular frame. The frame contains a loop-scroll design in each corner and a string of sixteen beads runs along its inner edge. A lineal globe-shaped design is stamped in the center of both covers. The spine is stamped in blind with a thick and thin band at the top and a thin and thick one at the bottom, between which there are three decorative rectangular panels, each containing a heart-shaped flower design in its center. The spine is lettered in gilt. Original pale-yellow coated endpapers. Inner hinges just slightly cracked, spine a little sunned, otherwise one of the brightest copies we have ever seen, with plates unusually clean; an astonishment. With the bookplates of original owner William Dillworth Howard (1831-1913), and author and bibliophile Eric S. Quayle (dated 1964) to front pastedown. Chemised in a quarter brown morocco slipcase.
This binding variant is identical to the primary bindings for David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, and Bleak House - yet not noted by Smith.
"Dombey and Son originally appeared in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly parts, the last forming a double number, from October 1846 - April 1848. It was published in book form on April 12, 1848. 21sÖ Dombey and Son contains the first published example of a so-called dark plate, which was created by a machine process that tinted the etched plate and heightened its black-and-white contrast. The one dark plate in Dombey and Son is "On the Dark Road," p. 547. The smooth blending of light and shadow on this illustration vividly contrasts it with the other illustrations in the novel and is a fine example of the dark plate process." (Smith).
Smith I:8. Sadleir 687. Woolf 1798.
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