Book of Ballads

BON GAULTIER   |   W. Edmonstoune AYTOUN

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Item#: 80226 price:$300.00

“SHE MUST, FOR FOUR-AND-TWENTY HOURS AT LEAST, HAVE LITTLE APPETITE FOR MULLIGATAWNY”: WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY DOYLE, CROWQUILL AND LEECH

BON GAULTIER (nom de plume assumed by AYTOUN, William Edmonstoune and MARTIN, Sir Theodore). The Book of Ballads. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1870. Square 12mo, early 20th-century three-quarter dark green morocco gilt, raised bands, red inlaid spine decorations, marbled boards and endpapers, all edges gilt. $300.

Later edition of one of the 19th century’s most popular books of comic verse, with in-text illustrations by Doyle, Crowquill and Leech, handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf.

William Aytoun and Theodore Martin collaborated in a series of humorous and satirical papers for Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, later published as the Bon Gaultier Ballads (1845). “Aytoun’s scholarship, his mastery of phrase and metre, [and] his sardonic humor… without which so-called humorous verse is apt to be merely horse-playful, made it difficult for him to go wrong” (Cambridge History). Perhaps the most popular of the songs were “The Massacre of the Macpherson” (a satire of clan feuds in the style of a Scottish Folk song) and “The Broken Pitcher” (about a Moorish woman who throws a Knight down a well after he had forced himself on her). This work is illustrated by three of the foremost caricaturists of the day: famous Punch cover-artist “Dicky” (Kitcat) Doyle, whose “delight in the grotesque is given full rein” (Houfe, 122); “Alfred Crowquill” (i.e. Alfred Henry Forrester), leading specialist in burlesques and comic sketches; and John Leech, twenty-year mainstay artist at Punch and illustrator of Dickens’ Christmas Carol (1843), whose pictures are “the finest definition of the classes of our society, the kindest and subtlest analysis of its foibles, the tenderest flattery of its pretty and well-bred ways” (John Ruskin). First published in 1845— this is the eleventh edition.

A fine copy, handsomely bound.

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