The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club.
With forty-three illustrations, by R. Seymour and Phiz.London, Chapman and Hall, 1837 Stock Code: 130554
NotesFirst edition, bound from the original parts, in the rare primary publisher's trade binding of plum coloured full morocco. Upon completion of the publication in parts, Chapman and Hall issued The Pickwick Papers in book form in cloth for 21s., half-morocco for 24s. 6d., and the present full morocco with gilt edges for 26s. 6d. (Patton, p. 326). They also offered a binding service, so that subscribers who had a set in parts could have them bound in a style matching the book form issue. This is such a public/subscriber bound copy it is bound tightly, but the stab-holes are generally visible in the gutter.
This plum coloured morocco binding precedes a similar green morocco variant, which was likely issued alongside the primary morocco binding of Nicholas Nickleby in 1839. The spine is here dated 1838, with other examples dated 1837, or undated. It is interesting to note that the ownership signature is dated December 1837 - the binding must have been executed in late 1837 and pre-dated 1838. The publishers evidently ordered the binders to do so in order that their copies for sale did not seem "old stock" the following year, and the subscriber here would have received the same pre-dated style. This pre-dating was often the case for title pages in books issued in November/December, but is less remarked upon for bindings. Both book forms and public/subscriber bound copies are found in this binding (determining factor for any primary demy octavo Dickens binding). Whilst both are rare, in this trade morocco binding, book forms outnumber those of public/subscriber-bound copies.
Many of the parts that the subscriber brought in to have bound carried sheets and plates of the earliest printing. The copy has the two Buss plates (in later issues of number 3 replaced by those of Phiz). With regard to the other oft-cited points, the copy has "Veller" on the engraved title (irrelevant, as both "Weller" and "Veller" plates were in use simultaneously and there is no means to distinguish which was engraved first); it has the signature "E" on page 25 indicating that sheet is of the later printing; most other textual errors uncorrected; and the early Seymour plates (which were later replaced by those of Phiz). It is important to note that all these frequently-cited points only have bearing on the priority of the original parts - they don't have any consequence of "issue" for a public/subscriber-bound copy, nor, for that matter, for the book form issue (the sheets and plates available for the book form issue, bound up at the end of the 19-month part issue, were those of the latest printing - for example, the Buss plates did not make it into any book form, the last copies had gone out issued between the wrappers of parts months earlier).
Demy octavo (212 x 132 mm). Original deluxe binding of purple hard-grain morocco, spine lettered in gilt, covers panelled in blind, yellow coated endpapers, gilt edges.
Etched vignette title page, frontispiece, and 41 plates by Robert Seymour, R. W. Buss, and H. K. Browne; additional engraved "Illustrations" plate.
Contemporary ownership signature of John Wilson, dated December 1837, to front free endpaper. Some rubbing to spine with one small chip, hinges split, a couple of signatures standing slightly proud, large chip to rear free endpaper, some toning and foxing to plates as usual, very minor tear in gutter of p. 5. A very good copy.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220