London: W. Sams, 1823. Item #02606
The Rare First Edition
HEATH, William. Studies From the Stage, or the Vicissitudes of Life. London: W. Sams, 1823.
First edition. Oblong folio (9 7/8 x 14 in; 250 x 354 mm). Engraved title (plain) and over 100 hand-colored illustrations on twenty etched plates, watermarked 1822, with interleaves. Plates 4, 10, 11, 14 and 18 signed, "Drawn & etched by W. Heath"; imprint, "Published by W. Sams Royal Library 1 St. James's St"; dated variously from May through July 1823.
Bound by Rivière & Son in half midnight blue morocco over blue cloth. Gilt-ruled and lettered title label. Gilt lettering to spine with gilt ornaments at head and tail. Top edge gilt. Occasional mild spotting and soiling. Upper joint near invisibly restored. A fine copy.
Only eight copies in institutional holdings worldwide. Rarely seen in commerce, the last copy to come to auction was in 2006.
This lavishly engraved, hand-colored book of caricature by William Heath shows a wide variety of contemporary English "types" depicted with great humor, including: "Grub Street Opera"; "Actress of all Work"; "All for Love"; "Maid of the Mill"; "The Devil to Pay"; "Three Weeks after Marriage"; etc.
Watercolourist and caricaturist William Heath (1795-1840)…worked mostly under the pseudonym of Paul Pry. He called himself 'Portrait and Military painter' and was reputed to be an 'ex-captain of dragoons' but is not recorded in the Army List. Heath began life as a draughtsman and his main claim to fame rests on his having produced the first caricature magazine in Europe, The Glasgow later Northern Looking-Glass, 1825-1826. Although this was a provincial work and without much text, it does pre-date Charles Philipon's similar publication. The height of his popularity fell between the years 1809-34, after which his humour was displaced by that of Robert Seymour and John Doyle" (Houfe, p. 338).
Abbey, Life 415.