SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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PHILLIPS, Richard [pub]
Modern London; Being the Historyand Present State of the British Metropolis

London: Published by Richard Phillips, 1804.
Abbey Life 271 (Itinerant Traders only); Adams London Illustrated 89; Hiler p. 232; Tooley 370; Upcott II pp. 646-647; Bobins III 884.
London: Published by Richard Phillips, 1804.

FIRST EDITION, first issue with the plates having gray wash borders. Quarto (10 9/16 x 8 5/16 inches; 269 x 211 mm.). Thirty-one hand coloured etched plates (dated April 25 1804 and July 7 1804) by Edwards and W.S. Newton after Craig and [31] leaves of descriptive text (including the title which has text on the verso). Plates watermarked 1801 and 1804. Text watermarked 1803 and 1804.] Illustrated with Numerous Copper Plates. Modern antique-style half mottled calf over marbled boards. Marbled edges. Folding map lacking two sections. A few minor marginal tears or paper flaws. Paper slightly browned some slight offsetting from the plates. Overall an excellent copy. Richard Phillips the radical bookseller gaoled in 1793 for selling copies of Paine's Rights of Man in 1797 set up in St. Paul's Churchyard as a book and periodical publisher and in 1802 launched 'The Picture of London' - a guidebook which he continued to issue annually until 1810. In the 1802 edition Phillips in addition to maps of central London and the environs included four views. These were increased by four in 1803 but when he published the 1805 edition he had decided to hive off the pictorial element into a work of format more suitable to topographical plates his Modern London" (Adams London Illustrated p. 189). 'Modern London' is an outsize guidebook combined with a sort of 'anatomy' of the contemporary town and descriptions of the individual topographical plates and of the 'London Cries' with their familiar street settings. All but two of the topographical plates were drawn by Edward Pugh, a miniature painter architectural draughtsman and aquatint engraver who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1793 and died in 1813. The chief attraction of the book lies in the 31 Cries of London each in an identified setting and hand coloured. They were drawn by William Marshall Craig a fashionable miniature painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1788 to 1827 and was appointed painter in water-colours to Queen Charlotte. There is only one engraver's credit that of Edward Edwards but the uniformity of the etchings suggests that they were all "by one hand" (Adams London Illustrated p. 193). "Craig's (c. 1765-c. 1818) Itinerant Traders takes as its purpose the promotion of London as a city of beauty and order by reason of its monuments and noble buildings which derive scale and human purpose from a brood of picturesque outcasts. It unites topography with portraiture in pointillist designs explicated by two essays per image. Craig's designs reverse the normal priority of foregrounds over backgrounds; its figures posed and decorous are pretexts for their settings; historic London buildings rendered in the factual manner of architectural drafting. The advantage setting enjoys over character is still clearer in the book's commentaries which matching the two-fold division of Craig's images address background and figures in two blocks of prose using two type fonts" (Sean Shesgreen Images of the Outcast: The Urban Poor in the Cries of London pp. 157-158). Coloured plates in order: 'Traders of London'. 1. Baking or Boiling Apples (Stratford Place). 2. Band Boxes (Tarbart's Juvenile Library). 3. Baskets ! (Whitfield's Tabernacle). 4. Bellows to Mend (Smithfield). 5. Brick Dust (Portman Square). 6. Buy a Bill of The Play (Drury Lane Theatre). 7. Cat's & Dog's Meat ! (Bethlehem Hospital). 8. Chairs to Mend (Soho Square). 9. Cherries (St. James' Palace). 10. Door Mats (Charing Cross). 11. Dust - O ! (New Church Strand). 12. Green Hastings (Newgate). 13. Hair Brooms (Shoreditch Church). 14. Hot loaves (St. Martin's Church). 15. Hot Spiced Gingerbread (Pantheon). 16. Knives to Grind (Whitehall). 17. Lavender (Temple Bar). 18. Mackerel (Billingsgate). 19. Matches (The Mansion House). 20. Milk Below ! (Cavendish Square). 21. New Potatoes (Middlesex Hospital). 22. Old Clothes ! (Fitzroy Square). 23. A Poor Sweep, Sir ! (Blackfryars Bridge). 24. Rabbits (Portland Place). 25. Rhubarb ! (Russell Square). 26. Sand - O ! (St. Giles's Church). 27. A Showman (Hyde Park Corner). 28. Slippers (Somerset House). 29. Sweep Soot - O ! (Foundling Hospital). 30. Strawberries (Covent Garden). 31. Water Cresses (Hanover Square).