SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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The Comic Alphabet.

Cohn (p. 47) notes that this first edition was issued with uncolored plates, but that a few copies were issued with colored plates "but they are of very great rarity". The coloring on these plates is skillful, without bleed-thru to the reverse, and heightened with gum arabic, all characteristics of the original issue. As he was wont to do, Cruikshank focused the alphabet on problems in British society: for example, E for Equality shows a typical upper-crust dandy strolling arm-in-arm with a soot-covered chimney sweep. Words are often beyond the understanding of children: for example, Zoophyte is hardly one which would help a 10-year-old comprehend the letter Z (nor is the child likely to get the joke of a man eating a plant in the shape of a pig).

London : Pentonville, [1837]
London : Pentonville, [1837]

48 plates, in two states; hand-coloured and black and white, mounted, with individual tissue guards. Small slim 8vo, exquisitely bound by Tout in ornate gilt-decorated morocco, gilt-dec to boards, raised bands, title in gilt to spine, beautiful gilt inner dentelles, all edges gilt. Decorative floral endpapers. A fine copy. Complete with a facsimile booklet of all the coloured images from this unique and fascinating work. Coloured plates in order : 1. A - Alamode. 2. B - Boots. 3. C - Chimpanzee. 4. D - Dining out. 5. E - Equality. 6. F - Fashion. 7. G - Going. 8. H - Holidays. 9. I J - Isaac & John. 10. K - Kitchen Stuff. 11. L - Latitude & Longitude. 12. M - Monkies. 13. N - Night-mare. 14. O - Orpheus. 15. P - Pretty-Poll. 16. Q - Quadrille. 17. R - Racing. 18. S - Singing. 19. T - Tantalizing. 20. V, U - Very Unpleasant. 21. W - Waistcoat. 22. X - Xantippe. 23. Y - Yawning. 24. Z - Zoophyte.