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ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF THREE MEN. For Presentation Only.

ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF THREE MEN. For Presentation Only.

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ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF THREE MEN. For Presentation Only.

by THACKERAY, William Makepeace

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  • Hardcover
  • first
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About This Item

Folio, [28.3 x 18.5 cm], 12 leaves, including a blank, title and 10 illustrated and numbered; original decorated bevelled board, the covers with a decorative gilt branch and oak leaf design, upper cover with title in gilt, leaves loose due to perished gutta percha; ALs from the author mounted on front-free endpaper, dated 'Jany, 22, 1868', armorial bookplate of William Taylor Copeland.


This work has rather perplexed collectors and libraries alike as heretofore the illustrations have been ascribed to Thackeray, and the date of publication to 1849.

In fact most library references still ascribe it thus, Yale is nearest to the mark with a date of 1870 although all still cite Thackeray as the illustrator. Once thought to be among the rarest of the authors works the price once paid for the few copies that ever appeared at auction was substantial. The George Barr McCutcheon copy selling in 1926 for $1,100 (equivalent to $16,000 today!), and Jerome Kern's for $800. The Kern catalogue helpfully adding that 'There are so many similarities between the illustrations in this piece and many of his drawings in "Thackerayana" as to leave no room to doubt the hand of Thackeray in these "Surprising Adventures." We have the authority of the famous London booksellers, Messrs. Maggs Brothers, that this book is indisputably the production of Thackeray, and that only one copy has ever passed through their hands.' Other copies appear from time to time and in 1985 Christie's sold a copy for £800.

Our copy has the advantage of the others of actually identifying the artist and a date. The owner, William Taylor Copeland, has very thoughtfully laid down on the front free endpaper a letter received from the artist, George Henry Haydon, in January 1868: 'Dear Sir, Will you do me the favour of accepting the accompanying illustrations I have made to some nonsense verses which fell my way. I dare say you have a little grand-child who will appreciate them.'

The verses by Thackeray, which were titled 'Little Billie' first appeared in Samuel Bevan's Sands and Canvas, and again posthumously, but in a slightly altered version, in an article by Dr. John Brown on Thackeray in the North British Review in February, 1864. Haydon has altered the text again, either through misremembering, or to fit the text to his own illustrations. Still it is very perplexing that the rather obvious style of binding and layout was not seen as dating from the 1860's, and one seriously wonders how the book could pass as a product of Thackeray from 1849. Maybe both buyers and sellers indulged in a heck of a lot of wishful thinking in their pursuit of a rarity.

'George Henry Haydon was born in Heavitree, Devon, England, on 26 August 1822. Looking for adventure, he migrated to Melbourne in July 1840, where he worked as a clerk in William Kerr's bookshop, as an architect designing terraced cottages and then for the newspapers. He became one of Melbourne's first drawing masters and also sold sketches to the papers. Haydon was concerned about Aboriginal people, whom he defended against the prejudices of the colonists, and studied their language and customs. His friend and shooting companion was Benbo, of the Werribee 'tribe', who once saved his life and was the subject of many sketches.

'Haydon sailed in the Abberton for England in January 1845, with a bottle of Yarra water for christening purposes and a kangaroo rat which died on the ship. On his return to England he set himself up as an authority on emigration and gave many lectures. He married Clarissa Risdon on 20 December 1851; they had four sons and one daughter. In 1849 Haydon was appointed steward of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum at Exminster, was steward of Bridewell and Bethlem hospitals, London from 1853-89, and in 1865 he was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. Haydon died at his home, Ettrick, Putney Lower Common, on 9 November 1891.' [Victoria Museums, Melbourne]

OCLC records nine copies at British Library, Manchester; Morgan [red cloth], NYPL, Harvard, Chapel Hill, Yale [2 copies one rather vaguely 1833-49 the other 1870], and the Huntington.

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Details

Bookseller
Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
3210289
Title
ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF THREE MEN. For Presentation Only.
Author
THACKERAY, William Makepeace
Illustrator
George Henry HAYDON
Book Condition
Used
Quantity Available
1
Binding
Hardcover
Place of Publication
[London]
Date Published
[1867]
Weight
0.00 lbs
Bookseller catalogs
Fun & Games; Pot Pourri;

Terms of Sale

Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

About the Seller

Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2021
Croydon, Surrey

About Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

Pickering & Chatto has been dealing in rare books for the best part of two centuries. Since 2014 we have been based in the vestry of St. Clement's Church in the City of London, and have a stock of some 2000+ books, principally in the fields of literature, philosophy, social sciences, science and medicine, law and women's studies, from the fifteenth to the first decades of the twentieth century.Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions our offices are at present closed. We are, however, always happy to receive any inquiries by email.

Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Bookplate
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...
Gilt
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Leaves
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...

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