London: Thos. McLean: Repository of Wit & Humour, 1822. Item #05130
With Forty-Two Hand-Colored Engraved Plates Containing Approximately 200 Comical Vignettes
The Bemens/Widener/Adee Copy with all Seven of the Original Printed Wrappers bound in at end.
ALKEN, H[enr]y. Symptoms of Being Amused. Vol. I. London: Published by Thos. McLean: Repository of Wit & Humour, 1822.
First edition. Oblong folio (10 x 14 1/4 inches; 254 x 362 mm.). Single leaf of text (“Symptoms of a Preface”), hand-colored engraved title and forty-one hand-colored engraved plates, each containing several vignettes with humorous titles. Plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1824".
Near contemporary half red straight-grain morocco over marbled boards, front cover with rectangular red straight-grain morocco label decoratively bordered and lettered in gilt. Smooth spine ruled in gilt, plain endpapers. The Clarence S. Bemens / Joseph Widener / Capt. Graham M. Adee copy with their bookplates on front pastedown. With all seven (back & front) original brownish grey printed wrappers bound in (all dated 1824).
First three leaves (including leaf of text) with small stain on blank fore-margin. Some light soiling to a few blank margins but still a spectacular copy of this title with all of the original printed wrappers present.
A not uncommon work but really scarce with the original wrappers.
"This work was published serially during 1822 in brownish grey wrappers printed in black on the front and back… The wrappers of the first six serial parts are all the same, apparently being from the same printed stock of covers. "Repository of Wit and Humour" follows the publisher's name on the front wrapper of the final serial issue of the book [not in our copy]. The issue-number for every part is written in black ink on the outside of the front wrapper." (Podeschi 114, p. 122).
“Symptoms of being Amused and Illustrations to Popular Songs, published by T. M‘Lean in 1822 and 1823, are oblong quartos, containing forty-two plates each. These are soft-ground etchings, coloured by hand, and were originally issued in seven monthly parts… Each page is packed tight with random, haphazard sketches, with titles laboriously fitted, of a strained and very tiresome wittiness. They form a kind of rough-and-tumble, knock-about entertainment, with little taste or refinement, that seems to have had some topical interest at the time of publication, for we ar told of the Symptoms that ‘an unprecedented Sale of 30,000 bespeaks the Public estimation of the unrivalled spirit and fertility of design, evinced throughout this Novel and Elegant Work’” (Martin Hardie, p. 183).
“There are around 200 comical vignettes in the book, a good share of them having to do with riding and fox-hunting” (Mellon/Podeschi).
“Although Vol. I appears on the title page, no other volume was completed; a second was commenced, but only reached 18 plates. These latter are extremely rare. They bear imprint, London Published by Thomas McLean Repository of Wit & Humour 26 Haymarket 1824” (Tooley).
Bobins II, 755 (1824 edition); Martin Hardie, pp. 179, 183, and 319; Mellon/Podeschi 114; Schwerdt I, p. 27; Sparrow pp. 22-23; Tooley 57.