· Derby
[with] Owd Sammy Twitcher's visit tu't Gret Exibishun e Darby. Derby: Pr. by the author, . 8vo.  pp. [and] Owd Sammy Twitcher's second visit tu't Gret Exibishun e Darby, wi' Jim. Pr. by the author, . 8vo.  pp. [and] Owd Sammy Twitcher's visit tu't watter cure establishment, at Matlock-Bonk. Darby: Pr. by the author, . 8vo. 54, [14 (adv.)], 22 (adv.) pp.; 4 plts.
Attractively bound collection of the first editions of these four humorous works written in thick Derbyshire dialect (the first sentence here reads "Frend, ah gey thee my hond, ah dunna mene tow fingers, bur a gud grip, az tha'll feel tinglin e aw thy veins"). => Three of the pieces include glossaries of some of the more opaque terms. Two of the essays recount visits to the extensive and interesting => Midland Counties Fine Arts and Industrial Exhibition of 1870, and the final entry features a lengthy appendix offering a more serious look at => Matlock-Bank, its hydropathic establishments, and its other landmarks, this in standard English. Mr. Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment, referenced in the text, is the first business appearing in the subsequent advertisement section, which is extensive, evocative, and contains => many ads embellished with little recommendations (by "Twitcher"?) in Darbyshire doggerel.
The author, who spent most of his life in Derby, was a sculptor as well as a Derbyshire historian, and he appears to have supplied the => original illustrations here himself. The two pairs of plates (one lithographed, one steel-engraved) are done in notably different styles — we suspect that two different engravers worked from Robinson's sketches. Robinson wrote one additional Twitcher piece in 1881, describing a visit to the Royal Agricultural Show, not included in this gathering.
All the Twitcher books are now scarce: WorldCat finds very few U.K. holdings of these titles and virtually no U.S.
Provenance: First text page with early pencilled ownership inscription of Mr. H. Mills in upper outer corner.
Crismas: NSTC 2R14138; Visit: NSTC 2R14139; Second Visit: NSTC 2R14140; Watter Cure: NSTC 0643751. Later quarter green calf and fine combed marbled paper–covered sides, spine with gilt-stamped title; minor shelfwear. Pencilled ownership note as above. Light age-toning; first two works with mild foxing and last leaves with avery light, old waterstain across a lower corner. => A highly personal production in text *and* illustration; an entertaining and very uncommon gathering. (Inventory #: 36501)