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    First Edition, in the Original Parts, of Dombey & Son

    Charles Dickens. Dombey and Son. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.

    First edition, in the original twenty numbers bound in nineteen monthly parts (October 1846-April 1848). Octavo (8.75 x 5.5625 inches; 223 x 142 mm.). xvi, 624 pages. Forty inserted plates, including frontispiece and added vignette title, after etchings by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). The plates in Parts IV, VIII, IX, and X with tissue guards.

    In the original correct blue-green wrappers printed in black with a design by "Phiz" on the outside front wrapper, and advertisements on the inside front and inside and outside back wrappers.

    The text Earliest issue of Part IX, with "Delight" for "Joy" on page 284, lines 23 and 5 and 6 up; First issue of Part XI, with "Capatin" for "Captain" in the last line on page 324; mixed issue of Part XIV, with "if" omitted on page 426, line 9, but with the page number present on page 431; the preliminaries in Part XIX/XX with first state two-line "Errata."

    This set contains the following variations from Hatton and Cleaver: Part V lacks the twelve-line errata slip preceding the plates. Part III has a variant of the "Advertiser" not mentioned by Hatton and Cleaver, with "The Gentleman's Real Head of Hair" on page 10 instead of page 16, and "Umbrellas. W. & J. Sangster." on page 16 instead of page 10; the "Richard's Universal Daily Remembrancer" ad at back is printed in black ink. In Part IV, "The Lady's Newspaper" ad at back is bound with "Wives of England" on the recto, and the "Prospectus of Jullien's Album for 1847." has gilt edges. In Part VI, the "Valuable Educational Works" ad at back is on white paper, and the "Portrait of a Horse" ad is on green paper. Part VIII has a variant page 5 of the "Advertiser" which is sometimes seen but not mentioned by Hatton and Cleaver: "On the 1st of May.../"Portrait of Douglas Jerrold" instead of "Vanity Fair." And an additional ad at back, not called for in this part: "The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge" (4 pages). Part X lacks the "Letts, Son, & Steer" slip (2 pages) and the "Gilbert's Dictionary of the English Language" inset (8 pages) at back, and substitutes "John Smith and Son...sell the following articles" (one leaf, verso blank). The stab stitching appears original. Part XII has a variant of the "Kaye's Worsdell's Pills" slip at back, headed: "Important Testimonials to the Extraordinary Efficacy of Kaye's Worsdell's Pills" with testimonials dated 1846 and 1847) not mentioned but, again, stab stitching appears original. Part XIII has an additional ad at back, not called for in this part: "The Eagle and Protector Life Assurance Company" (2 pages); and the "Advertiser" has the earliest unbroken date "October, 1847" at the head of the first page. In Part XIV, the "Advertiser" lacks pages 5-8, apparently never stab stitched in, and has an additional ad at back, not called for in this part: "Dr. Locock's Lotion" inset (8 pages) issued by Lea & Perrins, Worcester, at back (entirely uncut and unopened). Part XV lacks the "New Story by Douglas Jerrold" slip at back; the "Letts, Son & Steer" ad at back is present, with twelve specimen diary leaves (including one double-page) and one calendar leaf ("1845 / Sunday / 26 / January"). Part XVI lacks the "Punch's Almanack" slip to follow the plates. Part XVII lacks "The Eagle and Protector Life Assurance Company" inset (2 pages) at back (found at the back of Part XIII in this copy). Part XIX/XX lacks the "Dr. Locock's Lotion" inset (8 pages) issued by Lea & Perrins, Worcester, at back (found at the back of Part XIV in this copy).

    The spines on all parts have been rebacked or repaired, most very skillfully. Part I with small paper repair to front wrapper (expert and hardly noticeable, but for a brown ink stain on the inside wrapper); a single wormhole from the back wrapper through the back ads, and just touching the verso of the final text leaf (no hole). Part II with a small stain at the foot of the rear wrapper; Part III small stain lower edge front wrapper. Part IV with one short tear to the outer edge of the front wrapper repaired on the inside and a few tiny chips and/or tears; small stain or abrasion affecting the bottom rule and imprint and a few additional letters; Part V with two small stains on front wrapper; Part VI with a small stain on the back wrapper, visible on three ad leaves at the back, additional stain on front wrapper; Part X restoration to front wrapper near the spine, affecting the image; Upper portion of front wrapper of Part XIII with a diagonal crease. Early ink signature at the head of the front wrapper of Parts IV, VIII, and IX: "The Right Honble. / The Earl of Glasgow." Two small holes at the stitching in the final ad leaf in Part II. A short tear to the lower blank margin of H2 (pages 99/100) in Part IV. Part V, tiny tear to the outer edge of pages 9/10 of the "Advertiser"; Part VI text very slight browned, first few leaves foxed. Part VII text very slightly browned, small stain in the upper corner of O6-P3, visible on pages 203-214 (heaviest on pages 208 and 209). Part VIII, leaves Q7 and Q8 (pages ) are poorly opened; page 256 is browned from the back ads; Part IX text roughly opened but no tears. Part X with a tiny tear to lower edge of U1 (pages 289/290). In Part XVIII, leaves NN7 and NN8 (pages 557/558 and 559/560) are poorly opened; tiny piece torn from upper corner of pages 3/4 of the "Advertiser"; Most plates with edge browning and light foxing; tiny tear to the lower edge of plate No. 3 in Part II; Plates in Part III are foxed and browned at the edges, with offsetting from the adjacent ads on the verso of each plate; In Part V, plates browned at the edges with considerable offsetting onto one another, and a dark stain (fox mark?) on the verso of each. Large fox mark on the verso of each plate in Part VIII. Overall, a very good set. Protected in a quarter green morocco over marbled board book-backed clamshell case by the Heritage Bindery (stamp-signed in gilt). Spine with five raised bands decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt. Corners and edges of the marbled boards rubbed.

    "Two sets of plates for each of the forty designs were etched by 'Phiz.' Even so, it was found impossible to print a sufficient number of etchings to supply the demand, and lithographic transfers were therefore made from the steels. Every copy of 'Dombey and Son' that was issued in the parts, contained a certain number of these lithographic illustrations, and every complete set of the parts varies as to quantity" (Hatton and Cleaver, page 227). Any distinction between the processes, if present in this copy, is not readily apparent, and it may be--as it seems to us--that all of the plates are etched.

    Dombey and Son contains the first published example of a so-called "dark" plate (Plate No. 35 in Part XVIII, "On the dark Road"), "which was created by a machine process that tinted the etched plate and heightened its black-and-white contrast" (Smith I, page 72). It was also the first of Dickens's Novels to contain horizontally etched plates (five). Dombey and Son was first published in book form on April 12, 1848. From the Victor Gulotta Collection.

    Eckel, pages 74-76. Gimbel A102. Hatton and Cleaver, pages 227-250. Smith, Dickens, I, 8.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
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