London: Printed and Published by J. Robins & Co., 1819. Item #04098
With the Very Rare First Issue of Volume I
[CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator]. The Humourist: A Collection of Entertaining Tales, Anecdoes, Repartees, Witty Sayings, Epigrams, Bon Mots, Jeu d’esprits, &c. Carefully selected. London: Printed and Published by J. Robins & Co., [n.d., 1819 (Volume I); 1819 (Volumes II-III); 1820 (Volume IV)].
First edition, with the very rare first issue of Volume I (bound from the parts, with the printed title bearing “Vol. I” but no date, and p. 44 headed “Dr Johnson”).
Four small octavo volumes (6 1/8 x 3 7/8 inches; 156 x 99 mm.). 226, ; 230, ; 222, ; 226,  pp. Forty hand-colored etched plates after Cruikshank, including four frontispieces and four vignette titles.
Early twentieth-century full crushed rose morocco by Rivière & Son, covers with multi gilt borders and decorative corner pieces, spines lettered and decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges and turn-ins, all edges rough gilt, dark blue coated endpapers. An excellent copy. With the engraved bookplate of The Library at Carolands on each pastedown.
"It had long been held that the first volume only was issued in parts, in green paper printed wrappers, with either a type ornament border or the grotesque woodcut that is found on the boards of the volume, but recently a Part 13 of Vol. 2 came into the possession of Mr. F.J. Callcott who has kindly lent it to me for reproduction. It is therefore clear that the first two volumes were certainly first issued in parts and probably all four, and Douglas was incorrect in his assumption. A complete set of even the ten parts comprising the first volume is unknown in the original wrappers. The first issue should be therefore bound from the parts, is never genuinely found in the original boards, and should have the words "Vol. 1," on the printed title, but no date. The first issue of the volume in the printed boards has the date 1819 upon the printed title, but not the words "Vol. 1." The second issue has both the date 1819 and the words "Vol. 1" on the printed title. There are ten coloured etchings, including the engraved title, to each volume, all dated and with the imprint of J. Robins & Co., except the vignette titles, plate 7 of Vol. 2, and plate 4 of Vol. 3 which do not have the date, although with the imprint; this is a "point" of the first issue as in later issues, several plates are without imprint or date. Vol. 1 was reissued in 1822, so dated on the title, the dates running 1822, 1819, 1819, 1820. There are differences in the letterpress of this reissue. Notably at p. 44, where in the first issue the tale is "Dr. Johnson," while in the 1822 reissue it is "Epitaph on a Dyer." (Cohn).
The Humourist “gave Cruikshank his first sustained opportunity to devise illustrations; Blanchard Jerrold calls it ‘his first remarkable separate work.’ Robins issued forty six-penny parts…with a colored etching in each, during 1819 and 1820…The vignette title page for volume 4 shows a grotesque dandy holding a cocked hat, grinning at the audience from a stage whose proscenium arch is decorated with swagged curtains and comic masks. The illustrations preserve that sense of theater: each scene takes place within a frame surmounted by emblematic props aspiring to a pedimental shape and supported by a base on which the title is inscribed, along with additional scenes and props” (Patten, George Cruikshank’s Life, Times, and Art, I, p. 190).
The first issue of Volume I is very rare; sets nearly always appear with it from the later re-issue (title-page dated “1822”).