(London: Chatto & Windus, 1884-1901). 222 x 143 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 5/8"). 15 volumes. FIRST EDITIONS of the last three works.
Pleasing contemporary dark blue three-quarter morocco by Bickers & Son (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), raised bands, spine gilt in single-ruled compartments, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. Tiny chip to top of one spine, three joints with short cracks at head, minor dulling from leather preservative, first volume with hinge open at rear (but the volume quite sound), one leaf with older tissue paper repair to head-edge tear (into text, but legibility not lost), other trivial defects, but still quite an attractive set in excellent condition, clean and fresh internally, and in bright, solid bindings showing little wear.
This is an appealing group of four scarce works, three of them first editions, by a father and son who also wrote novels, and brought the same engaging, readable style to their non-fiction. Justin McCarthy (1830-1912) was a journalist and novelist whose major work "History of Our Own Times" (1878) was an enormously popular account of Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria, written from a Liberal point of view. It went to a number of editions, and our 1901 edition of his major work covers the accession of Queen Victoria to the General Election of 1880 in four volumes, with a fifth volume supplement updating the history to the queen's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. McCarthy began publishing "History of the Four Georges and William IV" in 1884, but failing eyesight and ill health forced him to hand the work over to his son for completion; volume II appeared in 1890, and volumes III and IV in 1901. Justin Huntly McCarthy (1859-1936) penned two histories of his own, included here: "The French Revolution" (1890, 1897; four volumes) and "Queen Anne" (1902; two volumes). (ST11462a-374)
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PJP Catalog: 63.334