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Abbott à Beckett, Gilbert; John Leech, illus. The comic history of England. London: Published at the Punch Office, 1847–1848. 8vo (22.8 cm, 8.97"). 2 vols. I: xii, 320 pp.; 10 col. plts., illus. II: xii, 304 pp.; 10 col. plts., illus. $525.00
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 => the first book-form edition. 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 moustache, 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: Publisher's textured brown cloth, framed in blind, front covers with bright gilt-stamped version of the title-page vignette, "Clio Instructing the Young British Lion in History"; spines with gilt-stamped vignettes also from Leech illustrations.
Ray, Illustrator and the Book in England, 136. Bindings as above; slightly cocked, spines and edges sunned, cover gilt bright. Front fly-leaves with early pencilled ownership inscription, vol. I with bibliographical annotation and handwritten note regarding another copy's auction record laid in. Pages faintly age-toned with scattered light spots of foxing and minor offsetting from a few plates (a bit more pronounced to first title-page); one leaf in vol. II with short tear from lower edge, not touching text. => A popular work, here in a solid copy of the first edition in the publisher's binding, with attractive plates. (41677) Please RESHELVE This.
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