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Abbott à Beckett, Gilbert; John Leech, illus. The comic history of England. With twenty coloured etchings, and two hundred woodcuts. London: Published at the Punch Office, 1864. 8vo (22 cm, 8.66"). , [v]–xviii, 320, 304 pp.; 20 col. plts. $250.00
Playfully expounded yet actually generally accurate English history. Written by one of the original staff members of Punch and originally issued serially in parts, this long-popular and much-republished work appears here in a later book-form edition comprising both volumes in one. John Leech's famous illustrations, including => 20 hand-colored plates as well as numerous in-text steel engravings and woodcuts, feature Abbott à Beckett's historic figures portrayed with amusing contemporary touches; e.g., William the Conqueror has a handlebar mustache, a portrait of a medieval king being medically treated features patent medicine placards in the background, and Henry VIII wears an opera hat a'Maying while his queen on the occasion carries a pink parasol. In all, of course, as was to be the case also with this duo's Comic History of Rome, the history/"history" comments on the readers' own time.
Binding: Signed contemporary tree calf, covers framed in gilt roll, spine gilt extra with gilt-stamped red leather title label; board edges with gilt roll and turn-ins with blind roll. Endpapers and all edges marbled with particular elegance. => Front free endpaper stamped "Jenkins & Cecil."
Bound as above; spine foot, joints, and hinges refurbished, back joint with leather just starting to lift. Front free endpaper with pencilled note: "Boston May 8 1909"; front fly-leaf with later pencilled annotation regarding plates. Half-title for vol. I and separate title-page for vol. II not present here. Minimal age-toning; pages and plates otherwise clean. => A particularly attractive copy of this illustrated English classic. (40371) Please RESHELVE This.
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