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Paris, John Ayrton; George Cruikshank, illus. Philosophy in sport made science in earnest; being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of popular toys and sports. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green (pr. by A. & R. Spottiswoode), 1827. 12mo (18.3 cm, 7.2"). 3 vols. I: xviii, 316 pp.; illus. II: viii, 314 pp.; illus. III: vi, 207,  pp.; illus. (half-titles lacking). $525.00
First edition of an engaging triple-decker science book for children in a copy given by scientist Michael Faraday to his wife's nephews, illustrated with => over 20 wood engravings by George Cruikshank. A prominent physician and medical researcher who served as president of the Royal College of Physicians, the author (1785–1856) here focuses on his beloved natural philosophy: The text uses an elaborate fictional frame story about the Seymour family (Tom, Louisa, Rosa, Fanny, John, and their parents), plus various acquaintances providing comic relief or melodramatic interest, to teach about conducting experiments and examining scientific principles via "the common toys which have been invented for the amusement of youth" (p. 25). Paris, an ardent proponent of scientific societies and in fact the founder of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, provides a Virgil-obsessed vicar character to make unconvincing arguments against such "preposterous," potentially church-overthrowing groups — but also, in his favor, to explicate an anti-slavery allegory. The action is set in a thinly veiled version of => Penzance, Cornwall, where Dr. Paris lived for four years; among the topics covered by the protagonists are chess, ancient music, magic tricks, and the thaumatrope.
Cruikshank's illustrations capture the children at their "educational" play, with kites, shuttlecocks, etc., and the adults in various scenes from the frame narrative. Additional in-text figures depict principles of physics, etc. => The triple-decker format is very, very unusual in works for children.
Provenance: Vol. I with calling card of "M. Faraday" to front pastedown and his inked inscription above his name reading, "To the Boy Buchanans from their Uncle" (the printed name on the card later underlined in pencil). Front fly-leaf with inked gift inscription to John Francis Campbell from "Adelaide & John," dated 1832; front pastedown and fly-leaf with Campbell's early inked ownership inscriptions. More recent rubber-stamp (now faded) California bookseller Bertrand Smith ("Acres of Books"); other volumes similar. Later in the children's book collection of Albert A. Howard, small booklabels ("AHA") at rear.
NSTC 2P3301; Cohn, George Cruikshank, 599 & 626. Not in Osborne Collection; not in Gumuchian. 19th-century half brown calf and marbled paper–covered sides, spines with gilt-stamped leather title-labels; bindings worn overall, spines rubbed, front joint of vol. I cracked, spine label of vol. II absent. Front pastedown of vol. I with binder's ticket of Carss, Glasgow. All three half-titles lacking. A very few spots of foxing scattered throughout, two pages in vol. II with light smudges, several pages with stripes of offsetting from attached silk bookmarks, overall clean. => An enormously appealing production with an enormously appealing provenance. (40780) Please RESHELVE This.
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