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  • [An Album; or Selections from many Authors; interspersed with Drawings and Poetry]. by JORDAN, Ann. JORDAN, Ann. ~ [An Album; or Selections from many Authors; interspersed with Drawings and Poetry]. [British Isles, 1828 and later, to c. 1885].
    A good and typical illustrated commonplace album with transcribed verses, drawings and watercolours. The selections are very much representative of the contemporary fashion among women… (more)

    A good and typical illustrated commonplace album with transcribed verses, drawings and watercolours. The selections are very much representative of the contemporary fashion among women for such manuscript collections, with poems by Byron, Goldsmith and others, verses of friendship, loss and leave-taking, nature poems, riddles and aphorisms. A nicely self-aware inclusion here is Benjamin Franklin’s humorous ‘Paper a Poem’ relating paper types (gilt paper, copy paper, brown paper, foolscap, touch paper, waste paper and so on) to human analogues. The relatively few poems by women include Ann Radcliffe’s ‘To the Nightingale’ and ‘To Anne’ (unattributed here but by Mary Anne Browne, 1812-1845, entitled by her ‘Written in an Album’). Most of the contents have been entered within a few years of 1828 followed by a scatter of much later entries of the 1870s and 80s towards the end.

    The best account of the album genre in the history of reading and writing we have come across is by the late William St Clair in The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (2004, pp. 224-9) in a passage which could aptly serve as a description of Ann Jordan’s album.

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  • After Reading [After Berneval]. Letters to Robert Ross. by WILDE, Oscar. WILDE, Oscar. ~ After Reading [After Berneval]. Letters to Robert Ross. [London:] Beaumont Press, 1921-2.
    First editions, limited issues, numbers 127 and 231 of 200 and 400 copies respectively (a further 75 copies of each edition were issued on Japanese… (more)

    First editions, limited issues, numbers 127 and 231 of 200 and 400 copies respectively (a further 75 copies of each edition were issued on Japanese vellum and signed by publisher and artists). Separately issued companion volumes, collecting Wilde’s letters to Ross, his sometime-lover, constant companion and literary executor, written from France in the aftermath of his release from Reading Gaol. Ross faithfully guarded Wilde’s personal and literary legacy after his death, pursuing pirated editions and preserving his literary rights for Wilde’s sons. It was he who commissioned Epstein’s sculpture for the tomb at Père Lachaise and his will stipulated that his own ashes should be placed there with Oscar’s.

    Ross had prepared a volume of Wilde’s post-prison letters to him before the first war and had drafted an introduction shortly before his own sudden death in 1918. These two small volumes are selections, but represent the earliest attempt at a collection of Wilde letters. They are expurgated by removing the names of Lord Alfred Douglas, Constance Wilde and a few others, but the meanings are always obvious.

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  • [Embroidered sampler]. by PREEST, Emma. PREEST, Emma. ~ [Embroidered sampler]. [Gloucestershire, July 20 1847.
    ‘Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit / Death how certain Death how sur[e] / Sin the wound. And Christ the cure’. ‘Emma. Preest. Her… (more)

    ‘Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit / Death how certain Death how sur[e] / Sin the wound. And Christ the cure’. ‘Emma. Preest. Her work / Tuts Hill House / July. 20. 1847 Aged /12. Years. Old’.

    Emma Preest is possibly the Emma born on the 8th June 1835 at Bream Eaves, Gloucestershire and baptised in the Wesleyan chapel at Monmouth — certainly that would accord with her given age (12) in 1847 when she made this sampler. The identity of Tuts Hill house is not straightforward, there having been two houses so named in the vicinity of Tidenham, Chepstow. We can find no pictorial evidence of either of them as a three-storey, four bay house as in Emma’s depiction, and no Preest family associated with either. But if one accepts the likelihood of Emma being Gloucestershire born, both houses would have been some ten miles from her birthplace, suggesting the possibility she entered service at one of them at the age of 12 (quite possible) and that this may have been an ‘apprentice’ piece. Young girls were taught this kind of sewing not so much as a primer in reading (still less writing) as in household needleork and linen labelling.

    The verse is a variation of a popular gravestone epitaph: ‘Life is uncertain, death is sure, Sin the wound, and Christ the cure. If we have correctly identified Emma Preest, she married in 1854, had several children and emigrated with her family after 1870 and died in 1915 at Shawnee, Perry County, Ohio, USA, aged 80.

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  • Monsieur Bille dans le tourmente. by VILLETARD, Pierre. Pierre Falké, illustrator. VILLETARD, Pierre. Pierre Falké, illustrator. ~ Monsieur Bille dans le tourmente. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 15 copies. (more)

    Number 2 of 15 copies.

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  • Une Honnête Femme. by BOURDEAUX, Henry. Paul BAUDIER, illustrator. BOURDEAUX, Henry. Paul BAUDIER, illustrator. ~ Une Honnête Femme. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 15 copies with the additional suite on chine. (more)

    Number 2 of 15 copies with the additional suite on chine.

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  • L’Inconstante. by HOUVILLE, Gérard d’. Gérard COCHET, illustrator. HOUVILLE, Gérard d’. Gérard COCHET, illustrator. ~ L’Inconstante. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 11 copies. (more)

    Number 2 of 11 copies.

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  • [Embroidered sampler. by FULTON, Anna. FULTON, Anna. ~ [Embroidered sampler. British Isles. [ 1827].
    Alphabet (upper and lower case), several decorative lines and two verses: ‘Is there ambition in my heart / search gracious God and see...’ [Isaac Watts]… (more)

    Alphabet (upper and lower case), several decorative lines and two verses: ‘Is there ambition in my heart / search gracious God and see...’ [Isaac Watts] and ‘Teach me to live / that I may dread/ the grave as little / as my bed // Teach me to die ‘ that so I may / with joy behold /the judgement day’ [Thomas Ken, and later sued by Thomas Hardy in Jude the Obscure]. Needlework samplers remain one of the most widespread manifestations of the teaching and learning of basic literacy among girls and young women and, as here, reflect a strongly moralistic background.

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  • The Story of Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas]. by [GREENAWAY, Kate [GREENAWAY, Kate ~ The Story of Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas]. [London:] Marcus Ward & Co, [before 1868].
    One of two versions of this early set, this one apparently issued as Christmas cards. Schuster & Engen, Kate Greenaway, 291. (more)

    One of two versions of this early set, this one apparently issued as Christmas cards. Schuster & Engen, Kate Greenaway, 291.

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  • Our Mutual Friend... with Illustrations by Marcus Stone. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Our Mutual Friend... with Illustrations by Marcus Stone. London: [William Clowes and Sons for] Chapman and Hall, 1865.
    First edition, bound from the original parts. Our Mutual Friend originally appeared in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly parts, the last part forming a… (more)

    First edition, bound from the original parts. Our Mutual Friend originally appeared in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly parts, the last part forming a double number, from May 1864 - November 1865. The first volume was published in book form on January 20, 1865; the second on October 21, 1865. This copy contains all the original wrappers and adverts (some on different coloured papers). Hatton and Cleaver p.345-370; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I. 15.

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  • Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
    First edition, bound from the parts, which had appeared from October 1846 to April 1848. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 227-250; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I,… (more)

    First edition, bound from the parts, which had appeared from October 1846 to April 1848. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 227-250; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I, 8.

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  • Bleak House... with illustrations by H.K. Browne. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Bleak House... with illustrations by H.K. Browne. London: Bradbury and Evans, [ 1852-] 1853.
    First edition, bound from the original parts, the plates by Hablot Knight Browne including the ten ‘dark’ plates, merging meticulous engraved lines made by an… (more)

    First edition, bound from the original parts, the plates by Hablot Knight Browne including the ten ‘dark’ plates, merging meticulous engraved lines made by an engraving- or ruling-machine with the hand drawn lines of the etching needle to create an atmospheric mezzotint-like effect.

    Bleak House was Dickens’ ninth novel, published in monthly parts from March 1852 to September 1853. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 275-304; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I, 10.

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  • Voyage autour de sa chambre... Illustrations de Henri Caruchet, gravées à l’eau-forte par Frédéric Massé... by UZANNE, Octave. Henri, CARUCHET, illustrator. UZANNE, Octave. Henri, CARUCHET, illustrator. ~ Voyage autour de sa chambre... Illustrations de Henri Caruchet, gravées à l’eau-forte par Frédéric Massé... Paris: H. Floury, pour les Bibliophiles indépéndants, ‘1896’ [but wrapper dated 1897 as called for].
    First edition thus, subscriber’s copy, number 77 of 210 copies, complete with a suite of cancelled plates in monochrome. With its title a nod to… (more)

    First edition thus, subscriber’s copy, number 77 of 210 copies, complete with a suite of cancelled plates in monochrome. With its title a nod to Le Maistre’s famous confinement narrative, Voyage autour de ma chambre (1794, Uzanne’s Voyage autour de sa chambre is ‘Une ancienne chanson d’amour voltige dans la solitude; dans ce nid charmant où l’on était si bien à deux, il ne reste que des rêves de volupté indécise et la sarabande enlaçante, mystérieuse et sinistre des souvenirs, ces revenants de l’âme qu'on évoque, qu’on chasse et qu’on appelle encore’.
    A delicious bibliophilic production and one of Octave Uzanne’s rarest books: the limitation noting: ‘Après tirage les cuivres ont été lacérés.’ The additional suite consists of the cancelled plates, in which central portions left blank for the overprinting of the text from other plates have been filled in with etched croquis, often humorous, of: fashionable women, a devil, a bat, a rat and so on. The two sets of original wrappers are preserved, one with the design by Henry Thiriet. Uzanne’s productions are the zenith of a certain strand of 1890s Parisian bibliophilia: with precision and exactitude of the latest printing techniques harnessed to produce a series of works of rare beauty. Caruchet’s illuminated borders are perfect examples of art nouveau’s decadent themes, though lightened throughout with delicate and elegant botanical forms.
    Uzannes’s text had first appeared in his Calendrier de Vénus (1880, pp. 127-150). Not in Carteret. Outside continental Europe, OCLC lists copies at the British Library (with one additional suite, as here) and Texas (with two additional suites). Uzanne is extensively discussed in Silverman’s excellent The New Bibliopolis: French Book Collectors and the Culture of Print, 1880-1914 (Studies in Book and Print Culture, 2013).

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  • Physiologie de l’homme marié … Illustrations de Marckl. by [PHYSIOLOGIES]. KOCK, Paul de. [PHYSIOLOGIES]. KOCK, Paul de. ~ Physiologie de l’homme marié … Illustrations de Marckl. Paris: Jules Laisné … Aubert et Cie … Lavigne … 1842.
    A nice collection of eleven physiologies, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for… (more)

    A nice collection of eleven physiologies, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7).

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  • Physiologie de la femme la plus malheureuse du monde … Vignettes de Valentin. by [PHYSIOLOGIES]. LEMOINE, Édouard. [PHYSIOLOGIES]. LEMOINE, Édouard. ~ Physiologie de la femme la plus malheureuse du monde … Vignettes de Valentin. Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne … [1841].
    A nice collection of eight physiologies, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for… (more)

    A nice collection of eight physiologies, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • Physiologie de l’étudiant … Vignettes de MM. Trimolet et Maurisset. by HUART, Louis. HUART, Louis. ~ Physiologie de l’étudiant … Vignettes de MM. Trimolet et Maurisset. Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne … [1841].
    A satire on contemporary student life, addressing the traditional pursuits of the young denizens of the rue Saint Jacques — drinking, smoking, gaming, dancing and… (more)

    A satire on contemporary student life, addressing the traditional pursuits of the young denizens of the rue Saint Jacques — drinking, smoking, gaming, dancing and womanizing.

    This is one of the many such little Physiologies illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • Physiologie du tailleur … Vignettes par Gavarni. by HUART, Louis. HUART, Louis. ~ Physiologie du tailleur … Vignettes par Gavarni. Paris, Aubert et Cie … Lavigne … [1841].
    A satire on contemporary fashion, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a… (more)

    A satire on contemporary fashion, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • Physiologie du bas-bleu … Vignettes de Jules Vernier. by SOULIÉ, Frédéric. SOULIÉ, Frédéric. ~ Physiologie du bas-bleu … Vignettes de Jules Vernier. Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne …, [1841].
    A satire on educated women, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a… (more)

    A satire on educated women, one of the many such little books illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis, (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • Commonplace book. by HILLIARD, Lettice Elizabeth (née HALLETT). HILLIARD, Lettice Elizabeth (née HALLETT). ~ Commonplace book. England, early 19th century.
    Lettice Hallett (1787–1859) was the eldest daughter of the Radical reformer William Hallett of Denford Park, near Kintbury, in Berkshire. She married solicitor Nash Crosier… (more)

    Lettice Hallett (1787–1859) was the eldest daughter of the Radical reformer William Hallett of Denford Park, near Kintbury, in Berkshire. She married solicitor Nash Crosier Hilliard (1789–1844), of Grey’s Inn, in 1819. The three-page section of writing here, dated 20 November 1825, records ‘A list of the several person of the respective Families of Nash Crosier Hilliard and of Lettice Elizabeth Hilliard living at this Period’: Hilliards, Halletts, Nelsons, and Fowles. The first section, for which the book has been turned on its side, in oblong format, contains poetry: a 24-line poem ‘On Science’ (‘E’er yet the Morn of Science rose on Earth …’) by ‘W. D.’; ‘Lines found deeply engraved on the Bark of a large Tree in the Neighbourhood of Mentz [i.e. Mainz] in Germany’; ‘Music’ by William Strode (1598–1645; ‘When whispering strains do softly steal …’); ‘To a Friend in Distress’ (‘Shrink not to meet with adverse fate or part, / When black the scene, then bravely arm your heart …’); ‘The Morning before the Ball’, ‘The Morning after the Ball’, and extracts from ‘The Traveller’ and ‘The Deserted Village’ by Goldsmith.

    The other end of the book (for which the book has been flipped over to write) is taken up by a history of England, seemingly paraphrased, and expanded, by Lettice from Trusler’s Compendium of Useful Knowledge (1784 and later editions), from the Ancient Britons up to William the Conqueror and his sons.

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  • Physiologie de la lorette … Vignettes de Gavarny … by ALHOY, Maurice. ALHOY, Maurice. ~ Physiologie de la lorette … Vignettes de Gavarny … Paris: Aubert et Cie … Lavigne …, [ 1841].
    A nice pairing of physiologies, of the courtesan and the married man, illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a… (more)

    A nice pairing of physiologies, of the courtesan and the married man, illustrative of ‘the craze that swept Paris in the early 1840s for a series of small illustrated volumes marketed under the general title of physiologies [looking back, perhaps, to Brillat-Savarin’s bestselling Physiologie du goût (1826) and Balzac’s Physiologie du marriage (1830)]. Some 120 different physiologies were issued by various Parisian publishers between 1840 and 1842 (ranging alphabetically from the Physiologie de l’amant to the Physiologie du voyageur), and it is estimated that approximately half a million copies of these pocket-sized books were printed during the same two-year span’ (Sieburth, p. 163).

    Designed for mass consumption, these satirical guides to particular social types were based on ‘the witty interaction of image and text, drawing and caption, seeing and reading … Byproducts of the recent technological advances in printing and paper manufacturing which had made illustrated books more commercially feasible and analogous to the various dioramas and panoramas which enjoyed a considerable popularity during the period, these illustrated anthologies of urban sites and mores catered to the public’s desire to see its social space as a stage or gallery whose intelligibility was guaranteed both by its visibility as image and its legibility as text …

    ‘Quickly produced and marketed, consumed and discarded, … the physiologies (like the sensational tabloids or canards hawked on Paris streetcorners of the period) are early instances of the cheap, throwaway “instant book” whose appeal lies in its very topicality and ephemerality’ (op. cit., pp. 165–7). Richard Sieburth, ‘Same difference: the French Physiologies, 1840–1842’, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis (Duke UP, 1984), pp. 163–200.

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  • This is no Caricature. by [HEATH, William]. [HEATH, William]. ~ This is no Caricature. London: John Doyle, Published by Thomas McLean, 26 Haymarket October 1st 1827.
    In 1827 Harriet Mellon, widow of the banker Thomas Coutts married William Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans. The daughter of a family of travelling… (more)

    In 1827 Harriet Mellon, widow of the banker Thomas Coutts married William Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans. The daughter of a family of travelling players, Harriet had become an actress at an early age and was spotted by Coutts while performing in London. As a young woman she was widely celebrated for her beauty, and was painted by George Romney and Sir Thomas Lawrence. She became wealthy (as a senior partner of Coutts bank) and was 23 years older than Beauclerk on their marriage, providing ample scope for unkind commentary and ammunition for the satirists. Nicknamed ‘The Jolly Duchess’ Harriett enjoyed her wealth, was a great collector and generous patron. She wrote to her friend Sir Walter Scott:

    ‘What a strange eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world – first the wife of the best, the most perfect being that ever breathed …and now the wife of a Duke! You must write my life… my true history written by the author of Waverley’. (Scott’s Journal, 30 June 1827).

    After her death, she left an allowance to the Duke but her fortune passed to step-grandaughter Angela Burdett-Coutts, whose philanthropic association with Dickens is well known. BM Satires 15461. 

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