The Novels.

In ten volumes. Edited by R. Brimley Johnson.

London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1898 Stock Code: 143254

First appearance of Austen's novels with colour plates

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First Brock editions, the first appearance of Austen's novels with colour plates, rarely seen in such nice condition. Henry and Charles Brock illustrated five volumes each, making skilful use of the new printing technique of colour lithography. An instant success, it immediately eclipsed the publisher's previous Cooke-illustrated edition of 1892, in which the plates were monochrome.

This was the first of several collaborations between the Brock brothers and J. M. Dent: "among their important 'firsts' was colored plates for Austen. There had been previous colour illustrations of her fiction used on front boards of yellowback editions but not multiple interior color plates. Mass-produced color illustration, reproduced by lithography, was a novelty in the 1890s... Dent seems to have undertaken the new Brock-illustrated edition specifically to have a cutting-edge illustrated Austen edition on the market, rather than through any particular dissatisfaction with its 1892 edition" (Looser, p. 61).

The Brocks "worked closely together in the same studio and gained stimulation from each other. One of their influences was undoubtedly the work of Hugh Thomson, but their accuracy in period settings was greater than his, they collected Georgian furniture and clothing to study from Although meticulous in signing their drawings, H.M.'s can usually be told apart by their thicker ink lines and bolder handling" (The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators).

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10 volumes, octavo. Original green cloth, titles and pictorial decoration to spines and front boards in gold and green, patterned endpapers, top edges gilt, others untrimmed, leaves partially unopened.


Colour frontispiece to each volume and 51 colour lithographed plates with tissue guards by C. E. and H. M. Brock.


Some mild bubbling to cloth on a few volumes, light foxing to bindings and endpapers, contents clean and free from ownership marks. A fine set.


Gilson E90. The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators, p. 75; Devoney Looser, The Making of Jane Austen, 2019.


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