London: Printed and Published by J. Robins & Co., 1819. Item #05558
Rare in the Original Pictorial Boards
Forty Hand Colored Etchings by George Cruikshank
CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator. The Humourist: A Collection of Entertaining Tales, Anecdotes, Repartees, Witty Sayings, Epigrams, Bon Mots, Jeu d’esprits, &c. Carefully selected. London: Printed and Published by J. Robins & Co., 1822, 1819, 1819, 1820.
First edition, second issue with title page to volume I dated 1822 and "Epitaph on a Dyer" on page 44.
Four small octavo volumes (6 13/16 x 3 15/16 inches; 173 x 100 mm.). 226, [2, list of plates & advertisements]; 230,
[2, list of plates & advertisements]; 222, [2, list of plates & advertisements]; 226, [2, list of plates & advertisements] pp. Forty hand-colored etched plates after Cruikshank, including four frontispieces and four vignette titles. The plates in volume one bound in as per list of plates; The plates in volumes II, III, & IV bound between pages 12/13, 8/9 & 12/13 respectively. Some occasional very light marginal foxing to text leaves only. Page 109/110 in volume II with small hole in top blank margin and small stain, page 181/182 with repaired tear on blank fore-margin; Vol III with small stain on page 9/10.
Publisher's pictorial tan boards uncut, printed in black. The first volume slightly darkened and with small piece (1/2 x 3/4 inch) missing from lower portion of spine not affecting print. Some light rubbing to boards, otherwise excellent. Housed in a velvet-lined, quarter dark green morocco over green cloth clamshell case. Four spines, each with five raised bands decoratively ruled and lettered in gilt in compartments. A superb example in the original pictorial tan boards.
"Vol. I 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, p.126).
"The Humourist. A Collection of Entertaining Tales, Anecdotes, Epigrams, Bon Mots, 8c. &c. gave Cruikshank his first sustained opportunity to devise illustrations; Blanchard Jerrold calls it "his first remarkable separate work." Robins issued forty six-penny parts, stitched into green wrappers with a colored etching in each, during 1819 and 1820. The parts were also bound into four volumes. In several respects this format anticipates the one Dickens and his publishers revived in Pickwick Papers and the other serials; so too do Cruikshank's designs anticipate Browne's theatrical frontispiece for that novel. 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 pedi-mental shape and supported by a base on which the title is inscribed, along with additional scenes and props. The Humourist plates also grow out of title-page vignettes that surround a scene with its emblematic reflections and from such generically mixed devices as comic coats of arms, of which Cruikshank did several during this period, including a bloody Radical's Arms, an outrageous Dandies Coat of Arms, and The Boxer's Arms that he
"fistit." (Patten I, p.190).
Provenance: From the renowned Cruikshank collection of Adrian W. Flühmann.
Cohn, 419; Patten I, p.190.