London: Published by the Proprietor, 1824. Item #04119
Eleven Hand-Colored Flaps Revealing Moral Maxims
[GRIMALDI, Stacy]. A Suit of Armour for Youth. London: Published by the Proprietor, 1824.
First edition. Hand-colored issue. Twelvemo (7 1/8 x 4 1/8 inches; 182 x 105 mm.). xii, 92 pp. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece and eleven hand-colored engraved plates, each with a hand-colored engraved overslip. Three of the hand colored overslips expertly repaired at top hinge.
Bound ca. 1900 by R. Wallis (stamp-signed on verso of front free end-paper). Full polished tan calf, covers double-ruled in gilt, spine with five raised bands, decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments, two tan morocco labels lettered in gilt, gilt board edges and turn-ins, marbled end-papers, all edges gilt. Top of spine expertly and almost invisibly repaired, otherwise a near fine example.
It would appear that this little book was published both plain or more expensive, as here, hand-colored.
William Grimaldi (1751-1830). "One day, seeking some ideas for a house party which his family was to hold, he found inspiration in a group of articles on his daughter's dressing-table. He sketched a number of these on the top flaps of sheets of paper folded in half, and underneath drew an appropriate virtue. For instance, a sketch of a container of Rouge superieur, ne se vend à Paris was opened to reveal a scene captioned 'Modesty' underneath. Grimaldi had no further thought for the nine items than that they might provide interest at the party, but his son Stacy (1790-1863), a London solicitor and genealogist, was so impressed by the idea that he insisted they should be published. The elder Grimaldi was encouraged to write a verse to accompany each drawing, and Stacy then saw to the publication - at his father's expense. The Toilet, as the book was called, appeared in 1821 and quickly sold out, necessitating at least one reprint. Imitations soon appeared, and from Ireland came Indispensable Requisites for Dandies of both Sexes (circa 1823), and an anonymous American author from Boston offered My Lady's Casket in 1835. The Grimaldis produced a considerably more elaborate sequel for boys in 1824 entitled A Suit of Armour for Youth, which… again used the same flap principle. In this book eleven pieces of armour were, represented - a crest, helmet, breastplate, backplate, sword, shield, tilting-lance, housings, gauntlets, spurs and a banner - and beneath each an appropriate moral maxim." (Peter Haining. Movable Books. An Illustrated History. p. 16).
"The Grimaldis produced a sequel for boys in 1824 called Suit of Armour for Youth. In this pieces of body armour were faithfully reproduced with moral maxims to match. Thus "The Strongest Breastplate", when raised disclosed George III addressing the House of Lords, the picture being labelled "Virtue". " (Percy Muir. English Children's Books 1600 to 1900, p. 215).
Gumuchian, 1995; Haining, p.16; Muir, p. 215; Osborne, p. 418.