A SATIRICAL LIFE OF NAPOLEON WITH HAND-COLORED ILLUSTRATIONS BY CRUIKSHANK
(NAPOLEON) (CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator) COMBE, William. The Life of Napoleon, A Hudibrastic Poem in Fifteen Cantos, by Doctor Syntax, Embellished with Thirty Engravings by G. Cruikshank. London: for T. Pegg, et. al., 1817. Tall octavo, early 20th-century full navy morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, all edges gilt. $2300.
Second edition, with 29 full-page hand-colored engraved plates and hand-colored engraved title page, all by Cruikshank—one of his earliest works. Finely bound in full morocco-gilt by Riviere & Son.
"As a caricaturist Cruikshank was the legitimate successor of Rowlandson and Gillray; but both the broad grin of the one and the satiric ferocity of the other were mitigated in their pupil by a more genial spirit of fun and an altered environment… The comic gallery of the first 50 years of the 19th century would be poorer for his absence" (DNB). Cruikshank's early work frequently featured Napoleon, as in the comical, vibrantly hand-colored aquatint plates that illustrate William Combe's poetic parody of "Boney's" rise and fall. "In his illustrations to Combe's Life of Napoleon, [Cruikshank] tackles subjects that he had already used in his full-scale caricatures, and if the Combe Napoleon is more like a comic puppet than before, that suits the general purpose of cutting Napoleon down to size" (Patten, ed., George Cruikshank: A Revaluation, 137). Reprinted from the 1815 first edition; with several pages misnumbered and other minor errors. Cohn 153. See Tooley 151.
A lovely copy in fine condition.