1851. LEECH, John. Item #80054
A BECKETT, Gilbert Abbott. THE COMIC HISTORY OF ROME. Illustrated by John Leech. (London): Bradbury, Evans, and Co., (1851). First edition bound from original parts. Illustrated with 10 full-page hand-colored steel etchings and with smaller wood engravings in text. Octavo. xii,308 pp. Full calf skillfully rebacked, with decoratively gilt-tooled spine, with two green lettering pieces, laid-down. Inside dentelles gilt, green coated endpapers, with bookplate on front pastedown. An attractive copy, with only slight darkening of spine and edges of boards. Two leaves have short tears at edges and, near the end, there is a shallow dampstain at the top edge of some pages, which does not affect text or illustrations; otherwise the interior is quite clean. Eight of the nine front wrappers from the original parts issue have been bound-in at the end, missing only the cover for number six, along with some of the advertisements, such as 2 (of 4) pp. of "Comic Rome advertiser no. 1, May 1851" and the 16 p. "Guild of Literature and Art. Prospectus of a new endowment" from the first issue, and a couple of other slips advertising a new work by Dickens and Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour. However, the advertisements are not bound in order. Comic versions of serious subjects, with appropriatly humorous illustrations, became popular beginning in the 1840s. This work contains lovely and witty illustrations by John Leech, one of the most popular artists of his day. (Tooley 298: "More rare than the Comic History of England.").