1848 · New York
by Mapleson, T.W. Gwilt
New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1848. 53 illuminated pages, mainly with highly gilded and decorated borders done in chromolithography. Small quarto. Bevelled black cloth, stamped in gilt and blind, raised bands, a.e.g. Rubbed along the joints and edges, corners worn; chip at head of spine repaired. Very clean and bright internally. Very good overall. A stunning example of a type of mid-19th- century American literary work embellished with chromolithographs, it is singled out by several writers as a fine example of the genre. The striking lithographic work was produced by the Brett and Sinclair firms of Philadelphia. The text consists of a number of poems, the title and author's name preceding the verses themselves. "The illuminated border is different for each poem. Many of them contain miniatures of birds, animals, landscapes and human beings. The 'pages' are really hinged boards" - Bennett. Marzio calls the plates "brilliant" and Wainwright says: "The effect of this concentration of color is almost blinding, the title page alone carrying an impact sufficient to stun the senses." Mapleson, a talented book designer, produced several other, similar works, including A HANDBOOK OF HERALDRY (New York, 1851) and LAYS OF THE WESTERN WORLD (New York, 1849).
This book is without a publication date, which remains uncertain; McGrath guesses that it was probably printed in the early 1850s, while Bennett assigns a date of 1853. This copy, however, bears a faint ownership signature on the front free endpaper of "Henry Baird / 1848," and a presentation inscription on a front fly leaf reading "Bessie D. Baird / from her Husband / Philad. Oct 2, 1850," indicating a publication of at least 1850, and likely 1848. Marzio, THE DEMOCRATIC ART, p.192. Wainwright, PHILADELPHIA LITHOGRAPHY, p.86. McGRATH, p.105. BENNETT, p.71. REESE, STAMPED WITH A NATIONAL CHARACTER 89.
(Inventory #: WRCAM55512)