London: James Cochrane and Co.,, 1831. Item #04585
“One of the Three Most Perfect Plots ever Penned” (Coleridge)
Illustrated by George Cruikshank
A Fine Exhibition Binding by Zaehnsdorf
CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator. FIELDING, Henry. The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. With a Memoir of the Author by Thomas Roscoe, Esq. and illustrations by George Cruikshank. London: James Cochrane and Co., 1831.
First appearance of the illustrations by George Cruikshank.
Two small octavo volumes ( 6 5/8 x 4 1/8 inches; 169 x 105 mm.). [iii]- xxiii, [i, blank], 454; [iv], 448 pp. Etched portrait of Fielding after Hogarth, and eight etched plates by George Cruikshank. One plate a little darkened in margins, otherwise a very clean example.
Bound by Zaehnsdorf ca. 1910 (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-ins). Full teal blue crushed levant morocco, covers triple-ruled in gilt with decorative gilt corner fleurons. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled nd lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt-ruled board edges, elaborate gilt turn-ins, marbled paste-downs and endleaves, top edge gilt, others uncut. With the decorative gilt Zaehnsdorf 'exhibition' stamp on rear paste-downs. Minimal uniform sunning to spines, still a fine set.
First published in 1749, Tom Jones is widely considered both one of the best comic novels in English history and Fielding's masterpiece. Specifically, it tells the story of Tom Jones, an orphan born out of wedlock, who is subsequently raised by the respectable Squire Allworthy. Notably, Tom's sexual promiscuity and strident behavior caused scandal among the novel's readers, but nonetheless, Tom Jones quickly became an acclaimed novel, largely due to the effectiveness with which Fielding captured mid-18th century English society.
The above title represents volumes V & VI of Roscoe's Novelist's Library.