(Paris: Jules Didot l'aîné et Baudouin Frères, 1823). 235 x 150 mm. (9 x 5 3/4"). 2 p.l., 235 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Quite attractive contemporary calf decorated in gilt and blind in the Gothic cathedral style, central panel of covers with blind-stamped centerpiece in the style of a rose window and gilt cornerpieces, enclosed by blind- and gilt-roll frames, raised bands, spine panels with blind-stamped drawer-handle ornaments, gilt titling, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. WITH 24 LIVELY COLOR PLATES IN THE STYLE OF GEORGE CRUIKSHANK. Front pastedown with book label of "Beguin." Vicaire III, 564. Upper cover with small dark stain, spine sunned to a soft tan, head of spine with small chip, minor wear to front joint and corners, but the binding solid and pleasant; text leaves with mild foxing (due to paper quality) but the plates happily unaffected and still bright, with vivid coloring.
In a stylish contemporary binding and with illustrations depicting the various "characters, mores, and manners" of the English, this humorous exploration of the highs and lows of London society is a close adaptation of Pierce Egan's enormously popular "Life in London." The present work, though not a word-for-word translation, closely follows Egan's original story of Tom, Jerry, and Logic, a group of friends whose misadventures lead them from the most fashionable districts of London to its poorest slums. The wonderful illustrations show the trio taking part in all manner of mischief and merrymaking, including attending a masked ball, mingling in the crowded foyer of a theatre, visiting a bespoke tailor, taking boxing lessons, carousing at a rowdy alehouse, and, perhaps inevitably, having to appear before a constable. Though the plates are unsigned, they appear to be faithful copies of those done by George and Robert Cruikshank for the original Egan work. Deriving its name from the use of design motifs taken from Gothic architecture, the so-called "Cathedral Binding" (or "Cathedral-Style Binding") was fashionable in England and France for about three decades, beginning ca. 1810. French binder Joseph Thouvenin is sometimes credited with popularizing the style. The design is usually accomplished with either blocking or gilt tooling, but sometimes both are employed in a pleasing mixture, as seen here. (ST15946)
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PJP Catalog: NY21BF.041