THE WORKS OF THE LATE RIGHT HONOURABLE RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.
(London: J. Murray; James Ridgway; and Thomas Wilkie, 1821). 236 x 154 mm. (9 1/4 x 6"). Two volumes. Edited by Thomas Moore. FIRST COLLECTED EDITION.
Contemporary dun-colored publisher's boards, flat spines with paper labels, edges untrimmed. In modern blue buckram chemises inside matching morocco-backed slipcases with gilt titling on the spines. Front pastedown with the engraved armorial bookplate of R. B. Æ. Macleod of Cadboll, Invergordon Castle, 1877 (see below). Lowndes III, 2379. Paper boards a little soiled, extremities with vague wear, occasional wax drippings (noticeable, without being disfiguring, at the bottom of perhaps 20 openings), otherwise excellent, the leaves fresh and bright with generous margins, and the insubstantial boards entirely solid and showing very few signs of use.
This is an especially appealing set of the first collection of Sheridan works, edited by his biographer Thomas Moore, and offered here in the rare original boards. Sheridan (1751-1816) was one of the most intriguing figures in 18th century Britain. After a brilliant career as playwright and theatrical manager at Drury Lane, he entered Parliament in 1780, became Undersecretary of State in 1782, and Secretary of the Treasury the next year. According to Day, "most of his political life was spent in the Whig opposition, where he was the recognized equal of Fox and Burke. Sheridan was an intimate of the Prince of Wales, even composing the love letters dispatched by his royal highness." This set includes his plays "The Rivals," "St. Patrick's Day," "The Duenna," "A Trip to Scarborough," "The Camp," "The Critic," "Pizarro," and (his comic masterpiece) "The School for Scandal." Sheridan's "Verses to the Memory of David Garrick," the great actor and impresario, is also found here. DNB tells us, "Sheridan's wit, his sense of fun, and his mockery of sentimental comedy underpin his depiction of the contrast between appearance and reality. His comic invention exposes folly and hypocrisy through dramatic crises in a timeless way, and this has meant the plays remain alive, not only on stage but in radio and television productions as well." The dramatist died in poverty but was buried, with elaborate ceremony, in Westminster Abbey. Our former owner Robert Bruce Æneas Macleod was the son of Scottish whig MP Roderick Macleod (1786-1853), Lord Lieutenant of Cromarty. (ST11992c)