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The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, 1st Edition, Bayntun-Rivere Cosway Binding



The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Pickwick Papers) by Charles Dickens

Illustrated by Robert Seymour and “Phiz” (Hablot Knight Browne)

First Edition, First Printing

Published by Chapman and Hall, London in 1837

Signed Bayntun-Riviere “Cosway Style Binding”

Custom Clamshell Box by Jamie Kamph, Stonehouse Bindery

Exceptional Condition

Binding Details:  Stunning signed Bayntun-Riviere “Cosway Style” binding in full red crushed morocco leather that features two hand painted miniature portraits of Charles Dickens on ivory under beveled glass inlaid to the covers with the front cover depicting Dickens in his youth after a painting by Daniel Maclise and the rear cover depicting a portrait of the author in maturity in his familiar middle-age bearded visage at the height of his popularity.The spine treatment consists of raised bands with elaborate gilt decorations and titling. In addition to the miniatures inlaid into the covers, the boards are gilt ruled with floral gilt decorations. There are decorative gilt dentelles, doublures, and silk moire endpapers. All edges are gilt. Banytun/Riviere has affixed their binders stamp in gilt on the bottom inside cover. The book is housed in a custom made clamshell box by Jamie Kamph at the Stonehouse Bindery of red cloth with a leather spine label and titling..

About Cosway Bindings

Cosway bindings (named for renowned 19th-century English miniaturist Richard Cosway) were first commissioned in the early 1900s by J.H. Stonehouse, managing director of London booksellers Sotheran & Company, from the famous Rivière bindery, who employed Miss C.B. Currie to faithfully imitate Cosway's detailed watercolor style of portraiture. These delicate miniature paintings, often on ivory, were set into the covers or doublures of richly-tooled bindings and protected by a thin pane of glass. Cosway bindings executed by other than the original collaborators (Stonehouse, Sotheran, Rivière, and Currie) are designated as "Cosway-style" bindings.

Book Details:  Initially published in monthly installments in 1836 and 1837, this is true first edition, first printing in book form of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Pickwick Papers) published by Chapman and Hall in 1937 with all requisite points enumerated in Smith and contains all 43 original illustrations by Robert Seymour and “Phiz” (Hablot Knight Browne).  

Dr. Mark Wormald, Professor of English Studies at Cambridge University commenting on the book wrote, “Charles Dickens's first published work, “The Pickwick Papers" was an instant success that captured the public imagination with its colourful characters and farcical plot. Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as "The Pickwick Papers" - a comic masterpiece that catapulted its twenty-four-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle and, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, and his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtors' prison, characters and incidents spring to life from Dickens's pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour and literary invention.“

The volume measures approximately 8.5” x 5.5” x 2” and contains 609 pages as well as a preface, table of contents, and binder’s directions.

Condition Report:  The binding is in FINE condition with very superficial surface wear. Internally, the book is very clean with some minor spotting to the preliminary pages. The clamshell box is in FINE condition. Overall, this is a beautiful Bayntun-Riviere “Cosway Style” binding that houses the true first edition of Charles Dickens first book.

Photographs of the binding, endpapers, and clamshell box appear in the photo section of the listing..