A'BECKETT, GILBERT ABBOTT. 1811-1856.
The Comic History of England. London: Punch Office, 1846-48.
20 parts in 19. 8vo (228 x 148 mm). 20 hand-colored steel engravings and 240 woodcuts by John Leech. Original blue illustrated wrappers. Custom chemise and quarter morocco clamshell case. Several parts unopened. Ad slip in part 5 lacking outer half; mild soiling to wrappers of part 20, bookseller ticket to upper wrapper of a few parts obscuring date.
Provenance: E. Sedley Tillstone (period ownership inscription).
Exhibited: Grolier Club, 'Essential Parts,' 1996, p 25.
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS. Advertisement leaves and slips corresponding to Abbey, except the first part contains no ad and the rear wrapper is blank, and the rear cover of part 5 advertises "Rowland's Unique Preparations;" an additional ad for The Music Box bound at the rear of part 5. A'Beckett's blend of humor with a judiciousness acquired in training for the legal profession proved an attractive combination to the English reading public, testified to by the popularity of Figaro and Punch, both of which he played a major role in. His collaboration with fellow Punch staffer John Leech on this history of their homeland was a literary and artistic success. Jerrold praised the end result for combining A'Beckett's "general manly spirit" with illustrations by Leech which are "nearer to truth and to ordinary experience." Abbey Life 434; Tooley 296.