DICKENS, Charles.

Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son.

Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne.

London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846-8 Stock Code: 136251

Original parts

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First edition, in the original monthly parts published from September 1846 to March 1848, here an especially fresh and clean set of the novel "now recognized as one of the greatest of all his works... It is also the first one to have an explicitly contemporary setting" (ODNB).

The parts are accompanied by Hablot K. Browne's additional "Four Portraits", and "Full-Length Portraits" (neat book label to each front wrapper verso). "With the author's sanction, 'Phiz,' co-operating with Robert Young, etched four extra plates for this work. They were fine portraits of Little Paul, Edith, Florence and Alice, and much praise was bestowed on them. Also were made eight additional full length portraits of the other leading characters" (Eckel, p. 76). The plates were issued to coincide with the novel's completion in 1848 by Chapman and Hall. The two sets (issued in wrappers similar to the parts) went on sale at one shilling and two shillings respectively and "sold briskly" (Paul Schlicke ed., The Oxford Companion to Dickens, 2011, p. 61). Also included is an autograph letter signed from the illustrator H. K. Browne, regarding these plates. Dated 5 March 1848, Browne informs one Harry Edwards Esq. of Furnival's Inn in Holborn that "a set of eight etchings of full length figures representing some of the remaining principal characters in Dombey will be published in a day or two".

All advertisements and slips called for by Hatton and Cleaver are present, with the early state of the Dombey and Son Advertiser in part 13 ("October, 1847" unbroken on p. 1). All but one of the issue points are in their earliest states, with "capatin" in part 11 p. 324, and with the earlier state of the errata page (two lines rather than eight). For part 14, the word "if" on p. 426 is omitted as stated by Hatton & Cleaver as the "earliest issue", although p. 431 is numbered correctly, whereas they call for it to be omitted in "earlier copies".

Provenance: the Lawrence Drizen collection of Charles Dickens.

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20 numbers bound in 19 monthly parts as issued, together with 2 additional plate issues (see below). Original green wrappers printed in black, the textual numbers with designs by Phiz. Housed in a custom red cloth clamshell case.


With 40 etched and lithographic plates by Phiz (Hatton and Cleaver noting there is no priority of issue between the etchings and lithographs); plate 35 being the first published example of a "dark plate".


Contemporary ownership signature to front covers of parts 1 and 14 and contemporary initials to front cover of part 3, spines discreetly restored, some minor foxing to a few plates but far less than usual. An excellent set.


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