BOADEN’S MEMOIRS OF MRS. SIDDONS, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED AND FINELY BOUND
BOADEN, James. Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons. London: Henry Colburn, 1827. Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century full purple morocco, raised bands, brown morocco-gilt doublures, watered silk endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $1650.
First edition of Boaden’s biography of one of the late 18th-century English stage’s premiere tragic actresses, with frontispiece portrait and extra-illustrated with 56 additional engraved portraits of her and her contemporaries, many hand-colored. Handsomely bound in full morocco with fine morocco-gilt doublures by Taffin.
From the famed Kemble family, Sarah Siddons was sister to John Philip Kemble, Charles Kemble, Stephen Kemble, Ann Hatton and Elizabeth Whitlock, and the aunt of Fanny Kemble. Her portrayal of Lady Macbeth proved so powerful that for decades she was considered to essentially own the role: "Leigh Hunt calls her sleep-walking scene… [one] of the sublimest pieces of acting on the English stage" (DNB). A playwright himself as well as a journalist, Boaden's account of her life and career makes for "very pleasant reading; the style is easy and genial, and the author is careful to state his facts with accuracy" (DNB). Lowndes, 223. Bookplate; bookseller's label.
One page with expert paper repair, otherwise interiors clean and fine. Spines gently toned, minor restoration to joints, bindings sound and attractive. A lovely extra-illustrated copy.