London: Bradbury and Evans, 1860. Item #02377
His Most Popular Character
LEECH, John. Mr. Briggs & His Doings. Fishing. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1860.
First edition. Oblong folio (12 1/2 x 18 in; 318 x 457 mm). Twelve hand-colored lithograph plates heightened with gum arabic, mounted on artist board. Descriptive text with imprint at foot of each plate. Plates 8 and 9 are unsigned; plates 2 and 3 are signed "J Leech;" plates 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 12 are signed "JL;" and the two illustrations on plate 11 are signed "L".
Loose as issued, with the original brown paper pictorial upper wrapper. Wrapper a little worn and with a few marginal tears at edges otherwise an excellent copy. Housed in a half crimson morocco clamshell case.
"Of the two or three personalities created by Leech, none was more widely known or better loved than Mr. Briggs. Spielman says of him that his creation 'is sufficient to render the year 1849 memorable to the annals of the Land.' It was in this year that he made his first appearance in 'Punch.' Many of his adventures are said to have been founded on Leech's own visits to Sir John Millais whose favorite shooting and fishing grounds are reproduced in a great number of the drawings" (Field).
"And yet, with all his modesty and reserve, so great was his talent and appeal that from the moment of his first appearance as an illustrator in 'Bentley's Miscellany', as a cartoonist in 'Punch', and as a caricaturist of the 'Mulready Envelope'...there was not an artist in England whose work was so well known or who was so popular as John Leech" (Field).
"Messrs. Bradbury and Evans have much pleasure in introducing to the Public these Prints, which have been enlarged from Mr. John Leech's Original Drawings in 'Punch,' by a new and most ingenious process lately brought in operation by the Electro-Block Printing Company" (inner front wrapper)
I. Mr. Briggs Contemplates a Day's Fishing.
II. Mr. Briggs Manages His Punt Himself.
III. Mr. Briggs Tries For a Perch.
IV. Mr. Briggs Catches a Jack.
V. Mr. Briggs Catches and Eel.
VI and VII. Mr. Briggs Goes Out Fly-Fishing.
VIII to XII. Mr. Briggs Goes Salmon Fishing.
"Price 10. 6d. in a wrapper. Any Print may be had separately, price 1s." (inside wrapper)
Field, p. 211. Tooley 299.