(GAME). DARTON, William, publisher. ~ The novel and elegant Game of the Basket of Fruit or moral and intellectual Dessert. [The Delicious Game of the Fruit Basket containing a literary treat for a party of Juveniles... (slipcase title)]. London: William Darton, 58 Holborn Hill, 1822.
Engraved sheet (400 × 500 mm), hand-coloured, dissected in 9 parts and mounted on linen (original). Light duststaining, small splits to linen, which is soiled on verso. Folded in original slipcase with engraved and hand-coloured label (original printer’s label to verso). Slipcase restored at edges. With original rule book: ‘An Explanation of, of Key, to the Delicious Game of the Fruit Basket’, [R. & A. Taylor for] William Darton, 12mo (132 × 86 mm), pp. ii-vi, -72, including ads, wanting most of title-page (supplied in recent facsimile tipped in). Original blue wrappers with printed label. Dusty and rubbed with some tears at spine.
One of the strangest and most opulent Regency variants of the traditional Game of the Goose, with just 20 positions laid out across the luxuriant (and unarguably delicious) fruit basket. Aimed at a young audience, the game includes positions for: a penitentiary, the Royal Academy, an infirmary, a chemistry lesson, schools, a bazaar, Greenwich and Chelsea pensioners, a Female Benevolent Society, a Bible society, culminating with the female personification of ‘Glory inciting an Oxonian and a Cantab Student to Emulation, Learning, and the Arts’. The deliciousness of the fruit basket and the novelty and elegance of the board is strictly tempered by the moral and intellectual content of the Explanations, which run to several pages for each position. Rare: Worldcat lists copies at Morgan and Library Company of Philadelphia. There is also a copy in the V&A (with a variant of the rule book). Seville, The Cultural Legacy of the Royal Game of the Goose, 2019, pp. 170-2 and p. 119.