London: Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1839. Item #05574
Sergeant Bell's 'Peep-Show'
CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator. [MOGRIDGE (George)]. Sergeant Bell, and his Raree-Show. Embellished with wood cuts by Cruikshanks [sic], Thompson, Williams, etc. London, Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1839.
First edition. Small square octavo (5 3/16 x 4 inches; 132 x 101 mm.). [viii], -447, [1, advertisements] pp. Numerous woodcut illustrations in the text, of which the frontispiece, vignette title, and some of the woodcuts are after George Cruikshank.
Bound ca. by Root of London (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in). Full red morocco, covers triple-ruled in gilt with corner gilt fleurons, spine with five raised bands elaborately decorated and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt ruled board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, cockerel-style end-papers, all edges gilt. With the small oval bookplate of Adrian W. Flühmann on front paste-down. Original gilt decorated brown cloth covers and spine bound in at end. A fine copy.
The narrative of this little adventure book is in the words of the inimitable Sergeant Bell, a veteran Raree-rhowman from Taunton. He addresses the reader through a series of eight "exhibitions" that depict the historical and the unusual. The various exhibitions include such things as "Bonaparte's Battle of the Pyramids", "The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius", "The Spanish Armada", "The Falls of Niagara", "The Elephant Hunt", "The Great Temple at Carnac", "The Battle of Hastings", "The Battle of Waterloo", "The Great Fire of London", "Ascent of a Balloon", "A Kangaroo Hunt", "Ruins at Stonehenge", and many more adventures.
A time attributed to Dickens, who had the idea, the work was written by George Mogridge (1787-1854), alias "Old Humphrey". Charles Dickens had originally agreed to write this book at the request of the publisher. Negotiations were, however, canceled. As Eckel notes "This is the third of the books illustrated by George Cruikshank with which Dickens' name has been associated. There appears to be absolutely no reason for this connection. It was written by a man of the name of Mogridge."
"I have placed this book under the name of George Mogridge, as I think it has now been clearly established that, although Dickens proposed to write the book, the idea fell through, and it was eventually written by Mogridge,"Old Humphrey." (Cohn, p. 168)
Cohn 569; Patten II, p. 103.