London: Richard Bentley, 1838. Item #04691
"The Most Celebrated of English Clowns"
Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi Superbly Bound by Bayntun ca. 1920
Four Magnificent Color Pictorial Inlaid Characters
[DICKENS, Charles]. BAYNTUN, binder. Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi. Edited by "Boz." With Illustrations by George Cruikshank. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. [II.] London: Richard Bentley, 1838.
First edition, first issue, with no border around final plate and correct page listing in list of "Embellishments."
Two octavo volumes (7 1/2 x 4 5/8 inches; 191 x 117 mm.). [i]-xix, [xx, blank], 288 pp; [i-ix, [x, blank], 263, [264, printers imprint]. Engraved frontispiece portrait in volume I, and twelve engraved plates by George Cruikshank.
The frontispiece to each volume hand-colored (volume I. "Joseph Grimaldi" & Volume II. "Grimaldi's kindness to the Giant").
Extra illustrated by the insertion of forty-eight engraved plates, eighteen of which are hand colored. Six of the hand colored plates are by F.W. Pailthorpe; six by Isaac Cruikshank? and two by George Cruikshank. All three of these artists are famous Dickens illustrators.
Bound ca. 1920 by Bayntun, stamp-signed in gilt "Bayntun. Binder. Bath. Eng." on rear silk endleaves. Full forest green crushed levant morocco, covers triple-ruled in gilt surrounding a thin inlaid border of black morocco. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively bordered in black and gilt in compartments, gilt lettering, gilt board edges and decorative gilt turn-ins. Front and back doublures of each volume with a superb figure and background inlaid in various colored morocco's. Green watered silk endleaves, all edges gilt. Spines very slightly darkened otherwise very fine. Housed in the original, fleece-lined, green cloth slipcase. A spectacular example of a pair of early Bayntun bindings, typical of the firm's first-rate work and use of the best materials.
The four inlaid designs include "Gaby Grin, The Eccentric Clown." and three other characters from the book.
Joseph Grimaldi (1779-1837), called by Britannica "the most celebrated of English clowns," and generally considered without equal as a clown of pantomime. Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi is the autobiography of the nineteenth-century clown Joseph Grimaldi. There has been much debate about the exact nature of Dickens' role in the writing of this book. Forster said that Dickens wrote only the introductory chapter; others have said that he edited the manuscript, with the help of his father; and Bentley has stated in print that Dickens wrote a significant portion of the work. Eckel says, "It is plain that the last chapter is in Dickens' style and that other parts of the book are his. Grimaldi laid the foundation for his memoirs, but in a rough and diffuse manner. He gave the manuscript to Thomas Egerton Wilks, who, after some condensing, sold the manuscript to Bentley, who, in turn, passed it to Dickens for the purpose of embroidery." According to Kitton, copies with the frame around the final plate (as here) are more valuable than others because of their relative scarcity; the border was added without Dickens' consent, and when he expressed his displeasure, it was quickly removed.
Bayntun of Bath. George Bayntun (1873-1940) served his apprenticeship with the Taylor family in Trim Street and started his own bookbinding business in Northumberland Place in 1894. He employed London binders to raise the standard of craftsmanship and soon moved into a larger workshop in Walcot Street. Book Auction Records for 1906 recognized his success: "He has brought intelligence into play as well as high craftsmanship". In 1920 he purchased the bindery business of George Gregory, and in 1939 the Bayntun and Rivière binderies were incorporated into a new set of premises on Manvers Street (Bath), from where the business still operates today. George Bayntun had an especially good relationship with many of the pre-eminent American dealers including Brentano's.
Gimbel B64. Eckel pp. 140-2.