Political Sketches & c. By H. B.
Place Published: London:
Publisher: Thos. McLean, 26, Haymarket.
Book Id: 18300
Political caricatures by H. B., constructed out of two Js and two Ds, the initials of the artist John Doyle. "By 1840 he was prosperous enough to afford a fashionable house in Hyde Park, moving in the same circles as David Wilkie, Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Moore and Samuel Rogers & but H. B.'s true identity remained a closely guarded secret until he revealed it in 1843 in a seventeen-page letter to Sir Robert Peel." (Wikipedia). "These sketches were issued a few at a time, at irregular intervals, from 1829-1851; a total of 917 sketches were issued, cf. Stephen, Dict. of nat. biog." This appears to be a subscriber's set - some plates are stamped with an oval blind stamped "Subscribers Copy H.B.". There are 8 folio volumes, with 824 single page lithographic caricatures and 1 double page. Each volume has approximately 92 lithographs in each volume (one volume has 91, one has 93). The prints are numbered from #1 to #917, and are black & white, as issued, some with a tan lithographic color in the background. Plates #1 to #333 are all numbered in pencil; most of volume one has only the penciled numbers, and no printed numbers. While it is not an absolutely complete set, these were clearly bound this way from the start, why is not clear to us. Somewhat foxed in some volumes. Uniformly bound in original half calf and green pebbled cloth with "H. B's Political Sketches" in gilt on the front board. The volumes run from November 1829 to March 1851. Volume 1- Nov. 1829 - Aug 5, 1831, #1-146 (sml. damp spot foredge early; some foxing. Most prints are printed on wove paper, but a couple are on Whatman paper). Volume 2- Aug 10, 1831 - Dec 18, 1833, #147-289 (early couple of prints foxed, slim marginal watermark late); Volume 3- May 23 1833 - March 26, 1835, #263-384 (a little foxing early and late o/w clean). Volume 4- April 3, 1835 - Oct 20, 1837, #385-503 (a little foxing early and late o/w clean). Volume 5- Oct 27, 1837 - July 18, 1839, #504- 604(?) # is obscured by binding, titled 'What in Parliamentary Phrase", issued July 18, 1839). Volume 6- July 18, 1839- Oct 2, 1841, #605-708 (first couple foxed, others clean). Volume 7- Oct. 2, 1841 - June 18, 1844, (#___number obscured in binding, titled 'Simple Arithmetic' - 808); a little scattered foxing on very few. Volume 8- July 1, 1844 - March 19, 1851, #809-917, (a little foxing, largely in the margins). Only 2 complete sets appear on OCLC, as follows-OCLC: 228720617 cites the Huntington copy, 1829-1851, with 9 volumes, as follows: "v.1. 1829-1830, nos. 1-100 -- v.2.1830-1832, nos. 101-200 -- v.3. 1832-1834, nos. 201-300 -- v.4. 1834-1835, nos. 301-400 -- v.5. 1835-1837, nos. 401-500 -- v.6. 1837-1839, nos. 501-600 -- v.7. 1839-1841. nos. 601-700 -- v.8. 1841-1844, nos. 701-800 -- v.9. 1844-1849, nos. 801-916, with the note "H.B. = John Doyle./ For explanation of plates see: Thomas McLean, An illustrative key to the political sketches of H.B., nos. 1-600 (London, 1841), nos. 601-800 (London, 1844)./ These sketches were issued a few at a time, at irregular intervals, from 1829-1851; a total of 917 sketches were issued, cf. Stephen, Dict. of nat. biog." The Huntington copy does not appear to include the last plate, #917.OCLC: 644100957 cites a copy at the University of Manchester, UK, with 8 volumes folio and 2 volumes of an "Illustrative Key" to the prints. From the OCLC entry, there is no way of knowing how complete this set is.An unusual set, with an intriguing, but largely unknown prior history.