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(MATHEWS, Charles.) MATHEWS, Mrs [Anne].

Memoir of Charles Mathews, the comedian.

London : 1838-9 Stock Code: 35334
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First edition, in an extraordinary binding no doubt intended to invoke the traditional motley of the jester. The boards of each volume have been covered in different colours: dark red/tan for vol. I; tan/dark green for vol. II; scarlet/olive green for vol. III; and olive green/scarlet for vol. IV. The spines match the front boards, with onlaid panels of various colours. This biography of the actor Charles Mathews (1776-1835) by his second wife, Anne Jackson, whom he married in 1803, is the principal source for the detail of Mathew's life and career. The most famous comedian of his day, Mathews's powerful influence on Charles Dickens's stylistic methods of comic characterization has long been recognized, and Dickens's admiration for Mathews provides the single most important influence on Dickens's career as a public reader. At this date, Richard Bentley was also Dickens's publisher.

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Four volumes, octavo. Near-contemporary full hard-grain morocco of various colours, covers with gilt panel borders, ornaments at inside corners; spine compartments with variously coloured onlaid panels ruled around in gilt, lettered and numbered in two; disparate marbled endpapers in vols. I-II, plain endpapers in vols. III-IV, gilt edges, silk page markers.


Engraved frontispiece in each volume, 12 plates (all 5 in vol. III are double-page); errata leaves in prelims in vols. I-II. Bookplates neatly removed from front pastedowns.


A little rubbing, an excellent set.


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