An Extra-Illustrated Edition with Six Hand-Colored Plates Signed by John Leech, and with an A'Beckett ALS[John Leech, illustrator]. Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett. The Comic History of England. [London]: Published at the Punch Office, 1847.
First edition, extra-illustrated with six hand-colored plates signed by John Leech, and with an inserted autograph letter signed by Gilbert A. A'Beckett. Two octavo volumes. 320; 304 pages. With twenty colored etchings and 240 woodcuts by John Leech. Extra-illustrated with six original hand-colored drawings by Leech, each inserted opposite the illustration that reproduced it in the book; each is signed or initialed by John Leech.
Bound in full scarlet crushed morocco by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, with original gilt- and blind-stamped brown cloth covers bound in at end of each volume. Gilt rules, edges, and turn-ins, with gilt lettering to spines. Top edges gilt. With the small circular leather bookplate of John L. Clawson on each front pastedown. Both hinges of Volume I are cracked, but binding still quite sound; front hinge of Volume II starting. Offsetting to free endpapers caused by leather turn-ins and leather bookplates. Two beautifully-bound volumes in fine condition, housed in a custom red cloth clamshell box.
The three-page ALS by the author, dated January 3, 1843, is inserted at the beginning of Volume I and reads in part: "My Dear Sir, May I presume on the share I have had in the Pantomime to ask the favour of a private box for any evening that I may bring my little family & witness it." No stranger to the theater, A'Beckett was not only a notable playwright who wrote some sixty produced plays, he was also a fine English humorist who was an original contributor to "Punch" magazine.
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