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    The George Barr McCutcheon Copy of A Child's History of England, in the Original Cloth

    Charles Dickens. A Child's History of England. With a Frontispiece by F. W. Topham. Volume I. England from the Ancient Times, to the Death of King John. [Volume II. England from the Reign of Henry the Third, to the Reign of Richard the Third. Volume III. England from the Reign of Henry the Seventh to the Revolution of 1688]. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1852-1854.

    First edition, first issue, with the correct dates on the title-pages, the correct advertisements in each volume, and with all of the internal flaws listed by Smith (except for the few found "in some copies" or "in one copy" only), including no page number on p. xi in Volume I. Three small square octavo volumes (6.0625 x 4.75 inches; 154 x 121 mm.). x, [1], [1, blank], 210, [1, advertisements], [1, blank]; viii, 214, [1, advertisements], [1, blank]; viii, 321, [1, blank], [1, advertisements], [1, blank] pp. Wood-engraved frontispiece in each volume, consisting of a centerpiece, printed in black, and a vignette in each corner, printed in a light grayish mauve. The vignette illustrations in the corners are identical in each volume, while the centerpiece is different.

    Original publisher's moderate reddish brown vertically-ribbed cloth. Covers decoratively bordered in blind, front covers pictorially stamped in gilt (depicting young Alfred reading to his mother), spines decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. Marbled edges and endpapers. Spines very slightly faded, with a few tiny chips at extremities; short split to upper front joint of Volume I; short split to front joint of Volume II at top and bottom; corners lightly rubbed; some slight discoloration to cloth and a few small stains. The gilt on the spines is a little dulled, but the gilt on the front covers is still relatively bright. Tiny split to upper front hinge of Volume I; front hinge of Volume II starting, rear hinge cracked, but sound; hinges of Volume III cracked, but holding. Some light foxing. Volume III with the frontispiece separating and with faint marginal staining (from the edge marbling?) to pp. vii and 1. Armorial bookplate of George Barr McCutcheon on the front pastedown of each volume. Early ink signature at head of half-title in each volume: "Miss A. Copland / Augst 24th 1852" in Volume I; "Alice E. Copland / June 3rd 1853" in Volume II; and "Alice Emma Copland / June 3rd 1853" in Volume III. Tiny bookseller's ticket on front pastedown of Volume II: "F R [Y] Chelmsford." Additional bookseller's ticket on front pastedown of Volume III: "[J] Fry, Bookseller & Stationer, High St, Chelmsford." Bookseller's description laid into Volume I. A very good copy. Each volume protected in a red cloth chemise and quarter red morocco book-backed slipcase with the spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five gilt-dotted raised bands.

    This copy was Lot 129 in the April 21 and 22, 1926 sale of The Renowned Collection of First Editions of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray Formed by George Barr McCutcheon (New York: American Art Association, Inc., 1926).

    "The germ of this book was in the mind of Dickens nearly ten years before the idea was perfected. In 1843 he wrote to Douglas Jerrold concerning it but no immediate result followed. In style, subject and composition it was different from anything he had attempted. For the first and only time he dictated his thoughts to a second person, Chapters II and IV only are in his manuscript, the balance being in the handwriting of Miss Georgina Hogarth, his wife's sister. Originally it appeared in Household Words at irregular times from January 25, 1851, to December 10, 1853, inclusive. As a serial it was in forty-five chapters, but in book form it was reduced to thirty-seven" (Eckel).

    "Each volume of A Child's History of England was published separately in book form: the first volume on December 20, 1851; the second, December 25, 1852; and the third, December 24, 1853...Although the volumes were published in December, each was postdated the following year. After separate publication of the final volume, the work was offered complete in three volumes" (Smith II, p. 80, note 5). From the H. Barry Morris Collection.

    Eckel, pp. 128-130. Gimbel A128. Smith II, 10.

    View all of [The H. Barry Morris Collection of Charles Dickens' First Editions ]

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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