London and Philadelphia: Gibbings & Company / J.B. Lippincott Company [Morrison and Gibb, Printers, Edinburgh], 1895. Richards, Frank; Bedford, F.D. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Twelve volumes (complete), octavo size, total pp. approximately 3,100, one of 150 copies on hand-made paper. Near fine. Item #20012804
Tobias George Smollett (ca.1721-1771), a Scottish author, was known for his "picaresque" novels (stories which depict the adventures "of a roguish, but 'appealing hero', of low social class, who lives by his wits in a corrupt society" (n.b., quote from Wiki). His best-known novels are included in this set, such as "Roderick Random", "Peregrine Pickle", and "Humphrey Clinker"; while perhaps less read today than in the past, his works influenced such major authors as Charles Dickens and mention of him pops up in Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" and Eliot's "Middlemarch".
The editor of this set, George Edward Bateman Saintsbury (1845-1933) was a well-known literary critic and historian, with his work covering a wide range of topics: French literature, English literature, and Poetry, in addition to providing numerous articles for the ninth edition (1875-1889) of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The illustrations (other than the frontis in Volume I) by Frank Richards (1863-1935), known mostly as a landscape and figure painter, working in both oil and watercolour; he was elected as a full member of the RBA (Royal Society of British Artists) in 1921. The richly decorated illustrated title pages were designed by Francis Donkin Bedford (1864-1954), who originally trained as an architect but turned to book illustration in the 1880s; he also designed the title page for the first edition of Peter and Wendy, as well as many others.
___DESCRIPTION: Set bound in half navy blue leather over marbled boards, top edges gilt, fore-edges uncut, marbled endpapers matching the boards, series title page with the volume number within the series, below which is the volume number of the sub-set, limitation statement on the verso of the series title for the first book of each sub-set, tissue-guarded frontispieces (different in each volume), illustrated title pages designed by F.D. Bedford, decorative chapter headpieces at the Contents, List of Illustrations, Introduction (at the beginning of each subset), Preface, Apologue (these two only in the first volume), and the first Chapters of each volume, each volume with two tissue-guarded plates in addition to the frontis bound in; octavo size (8.25" by 5.25"), pagination: set volumes I - III, "Roderick Ransom", no. 148 of 150: Vol. I, [i-iv] v-xlviii  2-159; Vol. II, [i-iv] v-xvi, 1-219; and Vol. III, [i-iv] v-xvi, 1-216; set volumes IV - VII, "The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle", no. 134 of 150: Vol. I, [i-iv] v-xxiv, 1-238; Vol. II, [i-iv] v-xiv, 1-250; Vol. III, [i-iv] v-x, 1-261; and Vol. IV, [i-iv] v-x, 1-276; set volumes VIII and IX, "Ferdinand Count Fathom", no. 148 of 150 (note that these two volumes with signatures largely unopened): Vol. I, [i-iv] v-xx, 1-253 and Vol. II, [i-iv] v-x, 1-264; set volume X, "Sir Launcelot Greaves", no. 148 of 150, [i-iv] v-xvi, 1-286; and set volumes XI and XII, "Humphry Clinker", no. 148 of 150 (these two volumes also largely unopened): Vol. I, [i-vi] vii-xvi, 1-235 and Vol. II, [i-iv] vii-viii, 1-233 (note that pp. v-vi, which was likely the Contents, appears not to have been bound into this volume, as there is no evidence of extraction).
___CONDITION: Overall the set is near fine; all the text blocks are strong and square with solid hinges, the interior pages are clean and bright, each volume collates complete, and the entire set is free of prior owner markings; some overall rubbing to the leather bindings, the spines have mellowed to a brown tone, light toning to the preliminary and final few leaves, offsetting from the tissue guards and illustrations to their opposing pages, and dustiness to the uncut fore-edges.
___CITATIONS: Houfe, Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators; the web site of Richard Taylor Fine Art.
___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an extremely large and heavy set, and therefore additional postage will apply. We are happy to ship at cost to both domestic and international customers, please inquire for details.
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