“AGAIN, I SAY—GO NOT TO THE TOWER. DANGER LURKS THEREIN”: FIRST EDITION OF AINSWORTH’S THE TOWER OF LONDON, ILLUSTRATED BY CRUIKSHANK, HANDSOMELY BOUND
AINSWORTH, William Harrison. The Tower of London: A Historical Romance. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Richard Bentley, 1840. Thick octavo, early 20th-century full polished tan calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
First edition in book form of Ainsworth’s novel of Lady Jane Grey, with 40 etchings on steel and 58 wood engravings by George Cruikshank—“one of the most productive and individualistic of English illustrators” (Hodnett, 114), handsomely bound by Root.
"Ainsworth's novels are noteworthy… for their vivid pageant of scenery and historical accuracy" (Kunitz & Haycraft, 7), and The Tower of London ranks as one of his best: "On a ground of solid antiquarianism Ainsworth applied 'local color' thickly, touching it off with sentiment, rhetoric and horror. The horrific has proved to be his most memorable note, and with the help of Cruikshank's illustrations there are episodes in The Tower of London which may still provoke a shudder" (Baugh et al., 1276). First published in 13 parts the same year. Plates facing pages 16, 28 and 45 all in second state (other plates without differences observed between issue in parts and book issue). Cohn 14. Sadleir 31. Bookplate of Micajah Pratt Clough, President of Lynn Gas & Electric Co. and a prominent Boston-area banker and philanthropist circa World War I.
Only a few spots of foxing to text, small leather repair to rear board, mild toning to spine. A lovely, near-fine copy.