London: R. Ackermann, 1817. Item #02296
First Edition in Book Form
A Rare and Marvelous Record
Which Rowlandson Left of the England He Knew
ROWLANDSON, Thomas. The World In Miniature. Consisting of Groups of Figures, for the Illustration of Landscape-Scenery. Drawn and Etched by T. Rowlandson. London: R. Ackermann, 1817.
First edition in book form. Letterpress title-page, and forty black and white plates, numbered 1-40, drawn and etched by Rowladnson.
Contemporary half calf over publisher's original drab boards with original paper label. Calf well rubbed with small losses at spine. Joints starting. A few plates trimmed, as usual, with slight loss. Otherwise an internally clean, bright, and fine copy. Housed in a fleece-lined half black morocco clamshell case.
An excellent example of this rare Rowlandson work, which originally appeared in 1816 in eight parts in wrappers. Copies were subsequently bound up from the original parts and issued with a letterpress title dated 1817, as here.
The plates illustrate taverns, racing, fishing, country life, boating, etc. and contain up to three scenes each. Only three of the plates are titled within the etching, nos. 22 ("Stamford Castle"), 24 ("Glastonbury"), and 30 ("The Social Day"). Plate 39, often misnumbered "40", is correctly printed.
Only two copies have come to auction within the last thirty-seven years. Most copies in institutional holdings are uncolored, as the copy under notice; colored copies are exceedingly scarce.
Of Rowlandson, "We are told of his aimless wandering about the country, of his indolence and dissipation, of his gambling and high living, and of the reprobation with which his habits of life were regarded by the good people of his day, but undoubedly it is to these things that we are indebted for the marvelous record which he left of the England he knew, perhaps the most important contribution to our knowledge of the manners of the Englishman during the extraordinary years from 1780 to 1825" (Grolier Club).
Plates 1-5 are dated March 1, 1816; plates 6-10, April 1, 1816; plates 11-15, May 1, 1816, except plate 14, which is undated; plates 16-20, June 1, 1816; plates 21-25, July 1, 1816; plates 26-30, Aug. 1. 1816; plates 31-35, Sept. 1, 1816; plates 36-40, Oct. 1, 1816.
Tooley 437. Grolier Club, An Exhibition of Books Illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson (1916), 37.