London: J.W. Jarvis & Son, 1890. Item #03252
The Wits and Beaux of Society
A Spectacular Pair of Late-NineteenthCentury Cosway-Style Bindings
Extra-Illustrated with Sixty-Eight Fine Engraved Portraits
[COSWAY-STYLE BINDING]. WHARTON, Grace and Philip, pseudonym. The Wits and Beaux of Society… New edition with a Preface by Justin Huntly McCarthy,… And the original illustrations by H.K. Browne and James Godwin. London, J.W. Jarvis & Son, 1890.
Two large octavo volumes (9 9/16 x 7 3/16 inches; 243 x 182 mm.). xxxii, 262, (2, blank); vi, 246 pp. Two frontispieces and 14 plates by H.K. Browne and James Godwin.
Extra-illustrated by the insertion of sixty-eight fine engraved portraits including one hand-colored.
Full late nineteenth century black crushed levant morocco, covers richly decorated in gilt, spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges, wide decoratively gilt tooled-turn-ins, gilt decorated maroon morocco doublures, all edges gilt, watered silk end-leaves. The first volume with an oval portrait miniature (3 1/8 x 2 1/2 inches) under glass, of William Wycherley, set into the front doublure and "Binding Specially Executed / Miniatures Painted on Ivory / After Celebrated Portraits / William Wycherley / After Painting by / Sir Peter Lely" stamped in gilt on front watered silk endleaf. The second volume with an oval portrait miniature (3 1/8 x 2 1/2 inches) under glass, of Talleyrand, set into the front doublure and "Binding Specially Executed / Miniatures Painted on Ivory / After Celebrated Portraits / Talleyrand / After Painting by Gerard". A very fine pair of Cosway-Style bindings.
Each volume chemised in a light green cloth slipcase, lettered in gilt on spine.
The Wits and Beaux:
George Villiers (1592-1628), Count Grammont (1621-1707), Lord Rochester (1647-1680), Beau Fielding (1650-1712), William Congreve (1670-1729), Beau Nash (1674-1761), Philip - Duke of Wharton (1698-1731), Lord Hervey (1696-1743), Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773), The Abbe Scarron (1610-1660), Francois Duc de la Rochefoucault (1613-1680), The Duc de Saint-Simon (1675-1755), Horace Walpole (1717-1797), George Selwyn (1719-1791), Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Beau Brummell (1778-1840), Theodore Edward Hook (1788-1841), Sydney Smith (1771-1845) & George Bubb Dodington - Lord Melborne (1691-1762).
"When Grace and Philip Wharton found that they had pleased the world with their "Queens of Society," they very sensibly resolved to follow up their success with a companion work. Their first book had been all about women; the second book should be all about men. Accordingly they set to work selecting certain types that pleased them; they wrote a fresh collection of pleasant essays and presented the reading public with "Wits and Beaux of Society". The one book is as good as the other; there is not a pin to choose between them. There is the same bright easy, gossiping style, the same pleasing rapidity. There is nothing tedious, nothing dull anywhere. They do not profess to have anything to do with the graver processes of history -- these entertaining volumes; they seek rather to amuse than to instruct, and they fulfill their purpose excellently. There is instruction in them, but it comes in by the way; one is conscious of being entertained, and it is only after the entertainment is over that one finds that a fair amount of information has been thrown in to boot. The Whartons have but old tales to tell, but they tell them very well, and that is the first part of their business." (Preface).
Katherine Thomson (1797–1862) (née Byerley, also as Mrs A. T. Thomson, pseudonym Grace Wharton) was an English writer, known as a novelist and historian. She was the seventh daughter of Thomas Byerley of Etruria, Staffordshire, a nephew by marriage and sometime partner and manager of the pottery works of Josiah Wedgwood. She married, in 1820, the physician Anthony Todd Thomson, as his second wife. During their residence in London, for some of the time at Hinde Street, she and her husband assembled an artistic and literary circle, among their earlier friends being Campbell, Wilkie, Mackintosh, Jeffrey, and Lord Cockburn. Later, in Welbeck Street, they saw much of Thackeray, Browning, and also of Lord Lytton, who became a close friend. After her husband's death in 1849 she lived abroad for some years. In 1860, she suffered the drowning of her son, John Cockburn Thomson. She returned to London, and died at Dover on 17 December 1862.
Justin McCarthy (1830-1912) was an Irish author, historian and member of Parliament.