Set of Four. Poet, Miser, Virtuoso, Hypochondriac, A

Poet, Miser, Virtuoso, Hypochondriac—
An Extremely Scarce Suite of Four Hand-Colored Aquatints

ATKINSON, A. [John Augustus]. A Set of Four. Poet, Miser, Virtuoso, Hypochondriac. By Atkinson. Price, Coloured, 12s. London: Published by G.S. Tregear, 1824.

Large folio (18 1/2 x 11 9/16 inches; 469 x 291 mm.). Four hand-colored aquatint plates. The plates are watermarked 1824. The plates with imprint: “Pub. March 1, 1819, by Edwd. Orme, Bond St.”

Original brown wrappers, sewn as issued. Title printed in black on front wrapper within a decorative border. Wrappers expertly and almost invisibly repaired, also lower corner (1 x 1 inch) of front wrapper expertly repaired. A wonderful copy of this exceptionally rare suite of plates. Housed in a ca. 1920 blue cloth portfolio lettered on front "POET ETC / ATKINSON / 1824".

A variant issue of Abbey, Life, 157 (London: Published by E. and C. M’Lean, 1824), with the engraved border on the front wrapper differing in design from the imprint of M’Lean, and the price announced as 12s.

“From the imprint it is evident that these plates appeared first in 1819, but whether in the same form or whether they were part of a larger book is not clear” (Abbey, Life, 257).

John Augustus Atkinson published these four caricatures under the name of “A. Atkinson.” The individual plates are dated March 1, 1819 by Edward Orme, Pub., and, according to Abbey, may have been part of an earlier work. Atkinson was a "painter, etcher and illustrator. Born in London about 1775, he was taken to Russia by his uncle, James Walker, in 1784 and was patronised by the Empress Catherine and the Emperor Paul. He returned to London in 1801” where he published several popular books on the costume and manners of Russia and Great Britain (Simon Houfe, The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, p. 50). An accomplished caricaturist, he is also known for his Miseries of Human Life published in 1807. The set of four aquatint plates presented here are very rare examples of his later work. Little is known of his life after 1818.

Abbey, Life, 258. Prideaux, p. 326. Item #01439

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