AINSWORTH, WILLIAM HARRISON. 1805-1882.
The Tower of London: A Historical Romance. London: Richard Bentley, 1840.
13 parts in 12. 8vo (242 x 154 mm). 40 steel-engraved plate illustrations and 58 woodcuts by George Cruikshank. Advertisements on wrappers, 122 pp of ads, slips, and notices. Original pale yellow and cream illustrated wrappers.
Provenance: Marshall R. and Eleanor W. Anspach (bookplates).
Exhibited: Grolier Club, 'Essential Parts,' 1996, p 13.
FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL MONTHLY PARTS. The work is rare in parts, auction records for the last 34 years listing just 5 copies. Ainsworth's novel of the confinement and execution of Lady Jane Grey was immediately well received. Years after its publication, Cruikshank would make a very public and bitter claim to being the originator of The Tower of London and other of Ainsworth's novels, claiming that the latter created the stories around drawings and characters Cruikshank suggested (he had asserted the same in regards to Oliver Twist). Though his claim was flatly denied by Ainsworth and contradicted by letters between author and artist, the novels were, in fact, highly collaborative, the two discussing the novels as they took shape and incorporating each other's suggestions and visions. The illustrations are considered some of the most ambitious Cruikshank attempted to that point. See Ellis pp 88 ff. Cohn 14.