OUR MESS: TOM BURKE OF "OURS".
Edited by Charles Lever (Harry Lorrequer). With Numerous Illustrations on Steel by Phiz. [In Two Volumes.] Dublin: William Curry, Jun. and Co. [etc.], 1844. Original light grey-green paper-covered boards with red cloth spines, with printed spine labels.
First Edition in book form (after serial parts) of this early Charles Lever tale -- about an exiled Irish patriot, earning military glory in France (Napoleon is one of the characters). Lever started out as a medical doctor, but during the 1830s began writing picaresque adventures during his spare time, which were published in 1839 as THE CONFESSIONS OF HARRY LORREQUER (the similarly-picaresque PICKWICK PAPERS, with illustrations likewise by "Phiz," had just been published with great success). This title, five years later, is likewise "edited by Harry Lorrequer."
These volumes' title pages are confusing, in that the first volume reads "OUR MESS | Vol II | TOM BURKE OF "OURS" | Volume First" and the second has "Vol III ... Volume Second". This is because OUR MESS was the overall title for two separate novels, one having followed the other serially: JACK HINTON (published in book form in 1843 as Vol I of OUR MESS), followed by TOM BURKE (as here).
This set is bound from the parts (with stab-holes evident), and at the beginning and end of each volume are bound in numerous original pink wrappers; this binding was apparently used by the publisher strictly for copies bound from the parts, as the labels refer to this. All 44 plates (24 + 20) by "Phiz" are present, though many have substantial foxing and some have short edge-tears. As is appropriate, there is a half-title in the first volume only.
Condition is generally very good-plus, with only minor external wear (spine labels browned). See Sadleir 1415 (rose-madder ribbed cloth -- a newer style 1840s binding, which was perhaps used for copies not first bound into serial parts); Wolff 4098 (binding style not specified). Provenance: small leather bookplates of Alfred Sutro (1863-1933, English playwright who had many stage successes during the first three decades of the 20th Century). Item #14261