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Master Humphrey’s Clock.
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DICKENS, Charles.

Master Humphrey’s Clock.

With illustrations by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne.

Published: London: Chapman and Hall, 1840–41

Stock code: 111432

Price: £650

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First edition in book form of what Gordon Ray describes as “the pinnacle of Dickensian Gothic”. He goes on to note that Phiz (H. K. Browne) “is in excellent form” and that George Cattermole’s “wonderful clutter of antiquarian or architectural detail is well suited to Dickens’s chosen subjects”. Master Humphrey was a publishing experiment on Dickens’s part, unique in his canon, of issuing two novels together: The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge.

3 volumes, tall octavo. Original purplish vertical-ribbed cloth, gilt lettered and decorated spines, covers elaborately blindstamped, front covers with gilt clock motif, marbled edges and endpapers.. Full-page wood-engraved frontispieces by Ebenezer Landells after H. K. Browne and illustrations throughout, 25 figurative initials. Contemporary armorial bookplates of George Ebenezer Foster (1811-1870), magistrate and banker, and 20th century bookplates of Peter M. Jeavons. Spines lightly sunned and rolled, a couple of old pale stains to the front cover of volume III, title page of volume I creased, scattered foxing, a few gatherings a little proud, nevertheless a very good set in the original cloth.

Bibliography: Eckel p. 67 ff; Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914, 60; Smith I, 6.

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