A'BECKETT, GILBERT ABBOTT. 1811-1856.
The Comic History of Rome. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1851.
10 parts in 9. 8vo (228 x 148 mm). 10 hand-colored steel engravings and 98 woodcuts by John Leech. 13 leaves or slips of advertisements in parts 1, 7, 8, and 9/10. Original blue illustrated wrappers. Custom chemise and full morocco pull-off case. Occasional light edgewear, light finger soiling to a few wrappers, ink spot to front wrapper of part 10.
Provenance: A. Harcourt (period ownership inscription to front wrapper of several parts); Douglas C. Ewing and Nicholas Frederic Brady (20th-century bookplates to chemise).
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS. A'Beckett and Leech again combined talents for this askew look at antiquity. The prospectus situates the undertaking thus: "In the present day, light literature has acquired considerable weight, from the fact of its being honourably employed in elevating, with all its buoyancy, those who submit themselves to its guidance ... It was, perhaps, a bold experiment to relieve the Muse of History of some of those heavy incumbrances in which she had hitherto been dressed, and to display her in a lighter garb, appearing more nearly to the naked truth; but the plan having been carried out most successfully in one instance (The Comic History of England) it has been determined to let 'another still succeed.'" The parts were issued uniformly with those of England. Abbey Life 435; Tooley 298.