London: Bradbury and Evans [&] John C. Nimmo, 1853-88. Item #03488
A Set of Robert Surtees’s Sporting Novels
SURTEES, Robert Smith. LEECH, John, illustrator. Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour. With illustrations by John Leech. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853. [And:] Handley Cross; or, Mr. Jorrocks’s Hunt. With illustrations by John Leech. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1854. [And:] “Ask Mamma;” or, The Richest Commoner in England. With illustrations by John Leech. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1858. [And:] “Plain or Ringlets?” With illustrations by John Leech. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1860. [And:] Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds. With illustrations by John Leech and Hablot K. Browne. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1865. [And:] Hillingdon Hall or, The Cockney Squire. A Tale of Country Life. With illustrations by Wildrake, Heath & Jellicoe. London: John C. Nimmo, 1888.
Together six octavo volumes (8 5/8 x 5 7/16 inches; 219 x 137 mm.). All first editions in book form except for Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, which are the first illustrated editions (first published in three volumes, without illustrations, in 1843 & 1845). The first five titles originally published in parts. Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour with thirteen hand-colored engraved plates and eighty-four wood engravings; Handley Cross with seventeen hand-colored engraved plates and eighty-four wood engravings; “Ask Mamma” with thirteen hand-colored engraved plates and sixty-nine wood engravings; “Plain or Ringlets?” with thirteen hand-colored engraved plates and forty-four wood engravings; Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds with twenty-four hand-colored engraved plates and wood-engraved title vignette; [and] Hillingdon Hall or, The Cockney Squire with twelve hand-colored engraved plates and wood-engraved title vignette.
Uniformly bound ca. 1920 in full red crushed levant morocco by Riviere & Son (stamp-signed on front turn-ins). Covers triple-ruled in gilt, spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt-ruled board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, top edge gilt, others uncut, dark blue coated endpapers. All with the original gilt decorated cloth covers bound in at end. Each volume with the armorial bookplate of Herman Frasch Whiton and his ink signature on a front blank. Several joints show varying degrees of cracking - still a very handsome set.
Robert Smith Surtees (1805-1864) “founded, with R. Ackermann the younger, the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, to which he contributed his comic sketches of Mr Jorrocks, the sporting Cockney grocer, later collected as Jorrocks’s Jaunts and Jollities (1838). Jorrocks, whose adventures to some extent suggested the original idea of Pickwick Papers, reappears in Handley Cross (1843; expanded and illustrated by Leech, 1854). His second great character, Mr Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour (1853); another celebrated character was Mr Facey Romford, who appears in his last novel, Mr Facey Romford’s Hounds (1865). His eight long novels deal mainly with the characteristic aspects of English fox-hunting society, but his vivid caricatures, the absurd scenes he describes, the convincing dialect and often repeated catch-phrases, distinguish him from other writers of this genre. The illustration of his novels by Leech, Alken, and ‘Phiz’ (H.K. Browne) also contributed to their success” (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature).
Martin Hardie, pp. 211-213. Schwerdt II, pp. 233-238. Tooley 476, 473, 472, 477, 475, & 474.