London, Thomas Mc Lean, 1823.
2 parts in 1 small oblong folio [336 x 230 mm] of : I/ (2) bl. ll., (1) title, (1) l. of preface, 41 plates ; II/ (2) ll., 43 plates. Bound in full English red morocco of the nineteenth century, triple gilt fillet around the covers, gilt-stamped title on the front cover, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fillets, large inner gilt border, gilt edges. Binding by Hatchards.
I/ First edition of this collection of caricatures by Alken.
Alken’s hilarious plates depict a stunning variety of catastrophes, elaborating a favorite theme of his: the pitfalls of fun and games, especially any involving a horse or a gun.
The present edition is illustrated with 42 comical hand-colored soft ground etchings, including engraved pictorial title, all watermarked 1822 Thomas McLean.
Each plate contains several designs and accompanying captions. The format creates liveliness on the page and contributes to the inimitable sense of movement so essential to Alken’s art.
Being signed by Alken, many of the illustrations are of equine or sporting interest, and the lampooning is fundamentally visual.
« A book which contains no full plate pictures, but a large quantity of well drawn and finely coloured humorous sketches of sporting interest » (Schwerdt).
II/ First edition and second issue of this evocation of Regency England.
Not in Abbey; cf. Schwerdt IV, p. 4 (1822 edition with 40 plates); cf. Tooley 37 (1822 issue, noting four subsequent issues).
The first issue of this work was published in 1822, the present in 1823 and another one in 1825.
Each engraving is made up of from two to six vignette scenes, each scene illustrating in a humorous style a single line from a popular song of the day.
It is not surprising that a number of the images are of hunting, shooting and horses, but also included are scenes from domestic life of all classes, fashion, town and country life, military and naval life, etc.
The ‘Illustrations of Popular Songs’ is a work intended to mock the Amateur of Fine Arts, and of singing, with characteristic representations of his favourite subjects.
The illustration consists of 43 hand-colored plates with 1822 publishing date at the bottom of each plate.
They present hilarious caricatures with representations of hunting, sport, commerce, drinking habits, the arts, married life…