Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Charles Tilt, 1839. 8 pp undated ads. Original dark green cloth wrappers pictorially decorated in gilt.
First Edition, first issue, of this unusual collaboration between Thackeray, Dickens and Cruikshank. The volume consists of 31 quatrains of amusing verse, illustrated with Cruikshank's eleven full-page etchings (as well as the front cover design). According to Van Duzer, "It is now generally conceded that Thackeray wrote the text and that the notes and preface were by Dickens." For Thackeray it was quite early work: it was only the preceding year that was published THE YELLOWPLUSH CORRESPONDENCE, the "first publication in book form of any of Thackeray's writings" [Parrish]. As for Dickens, this fell just after OLIVER TWIST, at about the time NICHOLAS NICKLEBY was being serialized. Cruikshank, the only one of the three identified in the book, was the veteran of the group.
This copy is of the first issue, with "wine" in stanza v; in the second issue this was changed to "vine," even though the subject at hand is wine, in order to maintain the cross-pronunciation of "w's" and "v's" (as in "wery best vine" in stanza xiii). Also, the pagination of the verse pages is in the center of each page; in later copies it was moved to the corner, as on the preface pages. Cohn describes the cloth wrapper as green ribbed cloth, but the copies we have seen are in this green diaper cloth.
This copy has the usual eight pages (four leaves) of ads; a few copies we have seen have four pages (no known priority). It is in near-fine condition (minor foxing on some of the plates, but little exterior wear) -- quite remarkable condition for such a fragile volume 180+ years old. Cohn 243; Van Duzer 124. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell case. Provenance: armorial bookplate of the notable collector Lord Esher (Oliver Brett, Third Viscount Esher, 1881-1963). Item #14999