Item #05732 Real Life in London;. binders BAYNTUN, Pierce EGAN, ALKEN Henry, imitation.
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Real Life in London;

London: Printed for Jones & Co., 1827. Item #05732

Real Life in London with Thirty-Four Hand Colored Plates
Two Superb Inlaid Bindings by Bayntun, Bath

EGAN, Pierce (imitation of). ALKEN, Henry, illustrator. BAYNTUN, binder. Real Life in London. or, The Rambles and Adventures of Bob Tallyho, Esq. and His Cousin, the Hon. Tom Dashall, through the Metropolis; Exhibiting a Living Picture of Fashionable Characters, Manners, and Amusements in High and Low Life. By an Amateur. Embellished and Illustrated with a Series of Coloured Prints, Designed and Engraved by Messrs. Heath, Alken, Dighton, Brooke, Rowlandson, &c. London: Printed for Jones & Co. 1827-29.

Later issue (first published 1821-22). Two octavo volumes (8 3/8 x 5 1/4 in; 213 x 343 mm.). [ii, title, verso blank], [iii]-x, [1]-656; [2, title, verso blank], [i]-ix, [x, advertisement for British Classic Authors 1827], [3]-668 pp. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece and pictorial hand-colored title in each volume. Thirty-four hand-colored aquatint plates, including the sometimes lacking plate nos. 31 and 34, "St. George's Day, Presentation at the Levee" and "Tom and Bob catching a Charley Napping"

Handsomely bound ca. 1925 by Bayntun of Bath, stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-ins. Full red morocco, covers bordered with an interwoven gilt design. In the center of each front cover, a superb, inlaid group of fashionable society characters, in multi-colored morocco. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt ruled board edges and turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. A fine set.

Sixteen of the hand colored aquatint plates are by Henry Alken.

"From a bibliographical point of view, one of the most complicated and bewildering books ever published, rivaling Pickwick in the tangle of variant states that exist both in text and plates. The work had a tremendous success, probably out-rivaling in popularity its prototype, Egan's Life in London, and even the three Tours of Syntax. A difficult feature of the book is that two printers... printed copies, textually the same page by page, with only minor variations in the settings, and this, coupled with the fact that during the eight or nine years it was being reprinted, makes the whole vast output all 'first editions' but with innumerable states and variants that continually overlap one with the other" (Abbey).

"Originally published in 56 parts, on completion the work was issued in boards. A few large paper copies were printed on royal paper hot pressed with proof impressions of the plates. Later copies were bound in publisher's cloth... A book full of contrarities and difficulties for the bibliographer, there being innumerable variations of the plates. I have examined twenty or thirty copies and noted their peculiarities and points but doubt if I have run them all to earth. The difficulties are further increased by many copies in modern bindings having been completed or made up of different issues giving combinations that are not true variations" (Tooley).

An imitation of Pierce Egan’s Life in London “a work which was issued in and after July, 1821, in shilling numbers… Imitations came swift and frequent…Out of the sixty-five imitations of it which Egan stated that he had reckoned, the most important was Real Life in London... which was published in sixpenny numbers in 1821, with excellent illustrations by Heath, Alken, Dighton, Rowlandson and others. Real Life in London is a pleasanter book than its prototype. Some have held that Egan wrote it; but the author had a purer style, a cleaner mind and a wider knowledge of London than Egan. The book shows many more sides of London life than his; though the formal descriptions of well-known scenes or buildings, here and there inserted amid matter of a very different character, recall very forcibly Mr. Bouncer’s letters to his aunt in Verdant Green” (The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Abbey, Life 280 (1821-22 first edition); Tooley 198 (1821-22 first edition).

Price: $4,850.00