Publisher London and Edinburgh John Miller and W. Blackwood
Seller ID 004625
A spectacular assemblage of the master caricaturist's oeuvre! Politicians, fashion, actors and opera singers, ladies playing cards, sportsmen (skaters, hunters), connoisseurs and aesthetes, royalty, the rich and the rabble -- nothing was sacred before Gillray's acerbic eye and brush! N.d., 1818. Oblong 4to, 23 by 32.5 cm. 164 pp., plus 85 hand-colored aquatint or engraved plates, four of which are folding. The coloring is throughout rich and bright. No small part of what makes this survey a true treasure are the typically three or four pages (occasionally less, occasionallyl more) of droll commentary that accompany each plate. These short essays provide the context and explain the goings-on in the illustrations, which might have even been sometimes obscure then after the passage of a few years. In doing this, the text aspires to capture some of the Gillray voice but in more than clipped dialogue bubbles. At times these explanations might themselves beg for further interpretation for the reader of today, but they are also rich in cultural and social material that greatly augments the Gillray artwork. The collection is bound to be a revelation to anyone not already very familiar with Gillray in its diverse subject matter, for Gillray excelled equally at political satire and social and cultural mockery. And even when the subject matter is not immediately accessible to us, one can not but relish the imagination Gillray applied to it and the material remains highly risible regardless. Gillray was not an artist notable for his delicacy, and yet his broad, sometimes outrageous visual antics truly transcend the genre. This bound copy combines what was issued in nine separate installments. Elegantly bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in a full straight-grained red morocco, with gilt border and spine decoration, turn-ins, etc. Bearing the bookplate of "A. M. Broadley", or Alexander Meyrick Broadley (1847-1916) who was a well-known barrister, historian and bibliophile -- he wrote "Napoleon in Caricature 1795-1821". Not incidentally, there are quite a few cartoons in this book lampooning Napoleon. Repaired front joint. A few scuffs to the binding, some edgewear and rubbing, but it remains a luxuriantly beautiful binding. Lacking a title page, but it should be noted also that this collection was not issued as a single volume, and the installments had wrap covers, not proper title pages as such. Some occasional dampstaining and heavy age toning to a few leaves, with scattered light foxing besides. Yet given the heft of the work, we would consider the collection overall quite clean, with the blemishes in balance quite minimal, or certainly not significantly marring the entirety.