Item #05693 Life of Cobbett, The. James GILLRAY.
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The
Life of Cobbett, The

Life of Cobbett, The

London: H. Humphrey, 1809. Item #05693

James Gillray's Life of Cobbett with Eight Superb Hand-Colored Etched Plates

GILLRAY, James. The Life of Cobbett, written by himself. London: H[annah] Humphrey, 1809.

First edition. Large folio (19 3/8 x 12 inches; 492 x 305 mm.). The complete set of eight etchings, with large margins and original hand-coloring, each one with printed text underneath. Three of the plates with watermark 'Whatman 1808' and two of the plates with watermark "1806". Occasional minor surface dirt or stains, not affecting image, plates 1 & 8 with small expert repairs to blank lower corner, not affecting plate mark.

Bound by Root & Son in early twentieth century half red morocco over red cloth boards ruled in gilt. Front cover with title in gilt, spine with two raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers. Spine ends expertly and almost invisibly repaired. An excellent example with very large margins of this very rare suite.

"This series of bitter satirical prints against the grand radical of the day are parodies on the autobiographical sketch in his own Register, published during this year. They need little further explanation than that given in the inscriptions beneath each plate, the first of which represents the pretended amusements of his childhood." (Wright & Evans, pp. 350-352).

James Gillray (1756 or 1757 - 1815), was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810. The name of Gillray's publisher and print seller, Miss Hannah Humphrey is inextricably associated with that of the caricaturist. Gillray lived with Miss (often called Mrs) Humphrey during the entire period of his fame. It is believed that he several times thought of marrying her, and that on one occasion the pair were on their way to the church, when Gillray said: "This is a foolish affair, methinks, Miss Humphrey. We live very comfortably together; we had better let well alone." Gillray has been called the father of the political cartoon, with his satirical works calling the king, prime ministers and generals to account. Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray's wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, and beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists.

"For Gillray, as for any perceptive humorist, comedy and tragedy were the opposite sides of the same coin. In his eyes, human experience seems to resolve itself into a grim sort of carnival roller-coaster on which trial is inevitably followed by error and aspiration necessarily results in disillusion" (Hill, Mr. Gillray The Caricacurist, p. 136).

"Gillray was the first professional caricaturist in this country…forceful design…His work hit very hard…Although much of his work dates from before 1800, a group of marvelous caricatures appeared in the early 1800s…Gillray's last work was engraved in 1811 shortly before he became insane" (Houfe, p. 317-18).

"William Cobbett (1763-1835) was an English radical pamphleteer, journalist, politician, and farmer born in Farnham, Surrey. He was one of an agrarian faction seeking to reform Parliament, abolish "rotten boroughs", restrain foreign activity, and raise wages, with the goal of easing poverty among farm laborers and small land holders. Cobbett backed lower taxes, saving, reversing commons enclosures and returning to the gold standard. He opposed borough-mongers, sinecurists, bureaucratic "tax-eaters" and stockbrokers. His radicalism furthered the Reform Act 1832 and gained him one of two newly created seats in Parliament for the borough of Oldham. His polemics range from political reform to religion, including Catholic emancipation. His best known book is Rural Rides, London, 1830. He argued against Malthusianism, saying economic betterment could support global population growth." (Wikipedia).

BM Satires 11372-11379; Bobins V, 1614; Wright & Evans pp. 350-352.

Price: $8,500.00

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