London: Charles Tilt, 1839. Item #04079
Exceptionally scarce First Issue with All Eleven Plates in Two States
Hand-Colored and Plain
CRUIKSHANK, George, [illustrator]. [DICKENS, Charles]. [THACKERAY, William Makepeace]. The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Charles Tilt, 1839.
First edition, first issue (with the reading of ‘wine’ for 'vine' in the fifth stanza; pagination in the center of the text, printer’s slug on verso of title and last leaf).
Small octavo (5 1/16 x 4 inches; 129 x 101 mm.). [i-x], 11-40 pp. (Including one page of music). Complete with half-title. Eleven numbered full page plates by George Cruikshank. All plates in two states, hand-colored and plain.
Bound in 1901 by Zaehnsdorf (stamp signed on verso of front free end-paper). Full dark green crushed levant morocco, covers decoratively bordered in gilt with gilt corner pieces in pointille. Smooth spine elaborately decorated in gilt, gilt board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, green silk liners and endleaves. Armorial bookplate of Heber Reginald Bishop on front paste-down. Front joint expertly and invisibly repaired. A wonderful copy.
We have been able to locate just one other example with all eleven plates in two states - Lot 339 in the Sotheby auction of William Wright, June 12th, 1899.
A near fine copy of this exceptionally rare first 'colored' issue (the first we have ever seen) of a book that was for a long time attributed to Charles Dickens. The book is in fact a collaboration! William Makepeace Thackeray arranged the old ballad, Charles Dickens is thought to have contributed the 'scholarly' notes and George Cruikshank provided the illustrations.
"An adaptation of the traditional ballad attributed to Thackeray (British Library Catalogue) with preface and notes by Dickens. George Cruikshank regaled a dinner of the Antiquarian Society with a rendition of the ballad. On "hearing Cruikshank mournfully intone the word's of the Turks' daughter to the imprisoned Lord… Dickens offered to polish it into an even more solemn absurdity. He told Cruikshank to ask his sister Fanny to take down the music and 'to be sure to mark the shades and the expression.' And although he kept his part in The Loving Ballad secret, he not only wrote a burlesque introduction and notes, but altered lines and substituted a new last verse." (Johnson, p. 260).
Heber Reginald Bishop (1840-1902) was a noted businessman and philanthropist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His collections of art, especially his noted collection of jade, were donated to museums. "An industrialist and entrepreneur, Mr. Bishop was an active patron of the arts and a Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum during its formative years."