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    The Scarcest Format in the Original Eighty-Eight Weekly Numbers

    Charles Dickens. Master Humphrey's Clock. With Illustrations by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841.

    First edition, in the original eighty-eight weekly numbers (April 4, 1840-November 27, 1841). Large octavo. vi, 426 pages. With 198 wood-engraved text illustrations, including (according to Hatton and Cleaver) two frontispieces (Volumes II and III), 130 illustrations, and twenty-five decorative initials by H. K. Browne ("Phiz"); one frontispiece (Volume I) and thirty-eight illustrations by George Cattermole; one illustration by Samuel Williams (Volume I, p. 46); and one illustration by Daniel Maclise (Volume II, p. 108).

    In the original white printed self-wrappers designed by Cattermole with advertisements on inside front wrappers and inside and outside rear wrappers (with the following exceptions: the back wrapper of No. 26 is the dedication leaf, printed on inside, blank on outside; the inside front wrappers of Nos. 80-83 have an address from the author to the readers; the inside front wrapper of No. 87 has the same address, reset in smaller type, and below, a "Postscript."). Unstitched.

    There is some general edge wear and brittleness, but this scarce set is generally quite clean. The wrappers on all but eight numbers are still conjugate and correct. The spines on the wrappers of Nos. 15, 18, 23, and 63 are splitting, but still intact. The wrappers on Nos. 25, 40, 83, 87, and 88 have separated and have been neatly reattached to the first and last text pages. The front wrapper on No. 32 is detached, and the rear wrapper has been reattached, with a pencil note "Back 37"; the front wrapper on No. 33 is detached and the rear wrapper has been reattached, with a pencil note "33"; and both wrappers on No. 38 are detached, with a pencil note on the rear wrapper "116." There is crude early stitching on Nos. 2 5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17, and 18. Chemised in a pull-off case.

    Eckel, pp. 67-70. Gimbel A49. See Hatton and Cleaver, pp. 161-182.

    More Information:

    "Issued as a folded sheet of sixteen pages, uncut and unopened: of which twelve were numbered pages of letterpress - the other four pages (two leaves) forming the outer wrapper" (Hatton and Cleaver).


    "Master Humphrey's Clock was originally published in 88 weekly numbers, beginning with No. 1 on April 4, 1840, and ending with Nos. 87 and 88 (separately) on November 17, 1841. Every fourth or fifth week the textual portion of the weekly numbers was collected into a single monthly part and distributed in that form. There are twenty monthly parts (April 1840-November 1841), eight of which consist of five weekly numbers each, and twelve of four weekly numbers each. After the monthly parts, Master Humphrey's Clock was issued in three volumes with yellow endpapers and with marbled endpapers and marbled edges. The next sequence in the publishing history of Master Humphrey's Clock was the issuance of its two novels, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge, as separate volumes with and without the Master Humphrey data. Chapman and Hall then continued to publish further issues of the two novels from the first edition plates" (Smith, p. 57, note 3).


    "Of the four issues the weekly one is difficult to obtain in a clean condition, and is therefore the costliest" (Eckel).

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    Auction Dates
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    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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