SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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SEYMOUR, Robert.
Henry Alken, William Heath and John Phillips
A Collection of Twenty-Five Hand-Coloured Etched Plates.

Robert Seymour (1798 - 1836 ) was an illustrator of the works of Charles Dickens and a caricaturist. In 1827 Seymour gained permanent employment when his etchings and engravings were accepted by the publisher Thomas McLean. He learned to make etchings on the newfangled steel plates and then specialized in caricature and other humorous subjects. After mastering the art of etching, Seymour created lithographs as single prints and book illustrations from 1830 onwards. He was invited by McLean to produce the cartoon magazine 'Looking Glass', previously illustrated with engravings throughout by William Heath. For this magazine, Seymour lithographed four large sheets each month for the next six years until his death, each of which usually contained several drawings.

London: 1824-1830.
Abbey, Life, 318. Tooley 451
London: 1824-1830.

Oblong folio (12 9/16 x 16 5/16 inches; 320 x 414 mm.). Twenty-five hand-coloured etched plates. All plates are inlaid to size. Late nineteenth-century polished calf by Morrell (stamp-signed on the verso of the front free endpaper). Expertly and almost invisibly re-backed, with the original spine laid down. Covers with gilt triple fillet border, front cover lettered in gilt ("Seymour, Heath, & Phillips' / [ornament] / Coloured Caricatures/1824-1829"), spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments, board edges, and turn-ins. Decoratively tooled in gilt, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Two small stains on the verso of the last plate of Search after the "Comfortable." The last plate of Flowers from Nature has a marginal tear, neatly repaired, just entering the plate border (1/4 inch). The top of the plate and the imprint at the bottom are just slightly shaved on the plate "Self Hell." In Good Dinners, on the fifth plate, one of the captions is very slightly trimmed, and the imprint is shaved off; on the sixth plate, the imprint is shaved off; on the seventh plate, most of the imprint is shaved off, and on the eighth plate the imprint is trimmed. A wonderful collection of these extremely scarce series of plates, generally in excellent condition. Comprised of: Search after the "Comfortable." [Designed and etched by Robert Seymour]. London: Published July 1st. by Thos. McLean, July 1st, 1829. Six hand-coloured etched plates containing fifty captioned vignettes. "[Alken's] earliest productions were published anonymously under the signature of 'Ben Tallyho,' but in 1816, he issued with his name 'The Beauties & Defects in the Figure of the Horse comparatively delineated.' From this date until about 1831, he produced many sets of etchings…mostly coloured and sometimes humorous in character, the principal of which were 'Humorous Specimens of Riding,' 1821-3; 'Symptoms of being amazed,' 1822; 'Symptoms of being amused,' 1822; 'Flowers from Nature,' 1823-5.…The fertility of Alken's pencil was amazing.…In all Alken's works, there is a freedom of handling and a happy choice of subject which rendered them very popular in their day" (D.N.B.). John Phillips (fl. 1828-1838) "worked in Soho and was an early contributor to Punch and collaborated with Alfred Crowquill in the illustrations of Reynolds' Pickwick Abroad: or a Tour in France, 1838. Also illustrated with his own etchings Much Ado About Nothing Or Illustrations of Old Sayings, R. Ackermann, May 1828" (Houfe, The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators, p. 257). The colour plates on order: 1. "Frolic & Fashion," 9 sketches. 2. "Rural Retirement," 9 sketches. 3. "Arts & Sciences," 6 sketches. 4. Travelling. Pl. 1," 9 sketches. 5. "Travelling," 6 sketches. 6. "Courtship." 9 sketches. 7. [Untitled] depicts a ruined gambler leaving the tables after losing everything. (We have been unable to identify the artist, but it is very similar in style to Robert Seymour) 8. "Flowers from Nature" 6 sketch figures. Sweet William / John-Quill / Mary-Gold / Narcissis / Dandy-Lion / Cow-Slip. 9. "Flowers from Nature" 6 sketch figures. Sweet Pea / Batchelor's Buttons / Sun Flower / Iris / Arose / Wall Flower. 10. "Flowers from Nature" 6 sketch figures. Prim-Rose / Balsom / Butter Flower / Thrift / Columbine / Monks Hood. 11. "Flowers from Nature" 6 sketch figures. Poppy / An Enemy / Hearts Ease / Everlasting / Stocks / Pink. 12. "Good Dinners." Hand-coloured etched title. 13. "Good Dinners" 7 sketches, beginning with 'Spirits & Hot Water' and ending with 'Cabbage.' 14. "Good Dinners" 6 sketches beginning with 'Game' and ending with 'More Game.' 15. "Good Dinners" 7 sketches beginning with 'Scrag end of the Neck' and ending with 'Larks.' 16. "Good Dinners" 7 sketches beginning with 'Turnips' and ending with 'A Crab.' 17. "Good Dinners" 7 sketches beginning with 'Gin & Water' and ending with 'Forcemeat Balls.' 18. "Good Dinners" 6 sketches beginning with 'Oxford Dumplings' and ending with 'Sage & Onions'. 19. "Good Dinners" 1st Course: 7 sketches beginning with 'Vinegar' and ending with 'Melted Butter.' 20. "Good Dinners" 6 sketches beginning with 'A Spare Rib' and ending with 'Capers.' 21. "Much Ado About Nothing; or Illustrations of Old Sayings." Hand-coloured etched title. 22. [Untitled] 5 sketches beginning with 'NothIng so Amusing' and ending with 'Nothing so Unpleasant.' 23. [Untitled] 5 sketches beginning with 'Nothing to Come' and ending with 'Nothing so Amorous.' 24. [Untitled] 5 sketches beginning with 'Nothing so Troublesome' and ending with 'Nothing so Unfeeling.' 25. [Untitled] 6 sketches beginning with 'Nothing to Pay' and ending with 'Nothing to Fear.'