PUBLISHING - The London Printing and Publishing Company (Limited).

Pair of publisher's blads.

MARTIN, R. Montgomery. The Indian Empire. [With:] BALL, Charles. The History of the Indian Mutiny.

London: The London Printing and Publishing Company (Limited). c.1859-61 Stock Code: 141030
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Doorstepping the Indian Rebellion

A fascinating and notable piece of 19th century publishing history: a pair of publisher's blads, in this case used by a salesman in the garnering of subscriptions for two very popular and topical part works, Robert Montgomery Martin's The Indian Empire (1858-59) and Charles Ball's The Indian Mutiny (1858-61); each gilt stamped on the front cover, "Specimen. Not for Sale" and carrying at the end a number of pages for recording subscribers' details. The blad for The Indian Mutiny shows that our salesman was on the East Midlands circuit, with the names of two individuals recorded in Radford and Nottingham: a Thomas Brown, and a Joseph Houlton, baker, of Derby Road, Nottingham (the latter recorded in directories of the period).

A blad is a sample book section used by publishers and their representatives for promotional purposes. These are particularly handsome examples, presented in their now slightly faded but nonetheless impressive cloth bindings that alone would have been a temptation to the potential book buyer, offering a choice selection of plates and the opening six or eight pages of text. Needless to say, their highly ephemeral nature makes them decidedly uncommon.

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2 works, large octavo. Martin: original saffron morocco-grain cloth, blind ornamental foliate paneling to covers, title within a pictorial cartouche gilt to front cover, pale primrose yellow-coated endpapers; Ball: original red bead-grain cloth, blind ornamental paneling to covers, title within pictorial cartouche gilt (incorporating a portrait of Sir Henry Havelock) to front cover, pale primrose yellow-coated endpapers


Each with steel-engraved frontispiece and vignette title page, first work with 11 plates, second with 8, both with hand-coloured engraved map of India and specimen of letterpress.


Bindings a little rubbed and stained, inner hinges cracked, back cover of The Indian Mutiny loose and holding on front cords, yet considering the nature of these pieces, remarkably well preserved.


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