Engraved title, frontispiece, and eight other plates by Cruikshank. The List of Illustrations does not appear in the preliminaries and all but two of the plates have the volume number in the imprint, which, according to Sadleir, are points indicative of a very early copy (XIX Century fiction, I, 107).
Original variant pink/salmon embossed cloth, stamped in blind, with spine lettered and framed in gilt without a black pigment background. Small chip from lower spine, spine slightly sunned, short tear at spine along upper edge of rear joint, a few plates mildly dampstained, contemporary owner's signature on half-title. Overall, a fine copy.
Housed in cloth clamshell case.
"Those to whom the Sketches revealed a new writer saw in them many merits which to us are obscured: they broke entirely new ground, were written in a new style, and despite their frouzy topics, seemed to bring a refreshing breath of reality into the literary atmosphere. Nowadays, the best parts of the book seem to be those which are purely descriptive. Remembering how rare a thing is the ability to depict, really to depict, in words and especially to make interesting a description of the everyday, the commonplace, we gladly recognize Boz's handwork in the first proofs of Dickens' extraordinary power" (Gissing, The Immortal Dickens).
Smith I, 2; Gimbel A4; Cohn, 232.
HBS # 67763 $7,500