London: Printed by J. M'Gowan and Son, Great Windmill Street, Ca. 1829. Hardcover. Scarce juvenile imprint of the famous fables credited to Aesop and others, each fable illustrated with a bold and unusual aquatint engraving. Includes a fable titled "The Goat and the Kangaroos" with illustration depicting "a company of Kangaroos, just brought from New South Wales" (p. 288). The three kangaroos are astonished by the goat's appearance (and smell), as he is with their appearance ("Bless me what legs!"); they trade insults until the goat has had enough. The "application" or moral of the story states, "when foreigners meet in strange places they are always surprised at, and generally disgusted with habits which vary from their own" (p289).
Unfortunately, the illustrator is not named, because the images are so stylized and whimsical. The fables are mostly illustrated, there follows and a longer "application". "The Fox and the Vizor-Mask" describes a fox being in a shop where "Vizor-masks" were sold, examined them and exclaims "what a handsome goodly figure this makes! what a pity it is that it should want brains!". The Application speaks to the deficit of common-sense amongst mankind "In short, the whole world is a masquerade;... Many of the faces one meets with among the gay frolicksome part of our species, if searched for brains, would appear as arrant Vizors..." Other images include "The Kite, the Frog and the Mouse" - Frog and Mouse in armor; "The Beer and the Bee Hives"; "The Old Man and Death"; "The Monkey, the Cat & the Lap-Dog"- monkey in women's dress.
32mo, frontispiece, xxi, 263pp, 51 plates. Vol. II, frontispiece, vi, 311pp, 48 plates.
The frontispiece of Vol I lacking half the plate at the fold; Vol II with pp vii (contents) in facsimile. Period 3/4 brown leather and marbled boards, spines nicely strengthened, with a brown cloth box. Text and plates for the most part bright and clean, some foxed. The bookseller label of Marks & Co. 84 Charing Cross Road, London at front paste down Vol I. Period owner signature, Ed. C. Bower. OCLC: 177755110 locates one copy at Princeton University; OCLC: 903072453 locates one copy at Oxford. Three other incomplete copies have been located. Not found in Trove.
A very attractive little set in original leather and rare in institutions and on the market. Item #25438