Expedition of Humphry Clinker


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Item#: 127106 price:$3,800.00

Expedition of Humphry Clinker
Expedition of Humphry Clinker
Expedition of Humphry Clinker


SMOLLETT, Tobias. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. London: For W. Johnston and B. Collins, 1771 [misprinted MDCLXXI in Volume I]. Three volumes. 12mo, early 20th-century full red crushed morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom leather-edged slipcase. $3800.

First edition, one of the four possible first states, of Smollett's finest novel, beautifully bound in morocco-gilt by Chambolle-Duru.

Smollett's last novel was published in 1771, the year of his death, and is "generally agreed to be Smollett's crowning achievement… The mellowest and most accomplished of his works" (Drabble, 915). "The novel of Humphry Clinker is, I do think, the most laughable story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began" (Thackeray).

Renowned French bookbinder René Chambolle's father established his bindery in 1873. "At some point [Chambolle père] added to his own name the surname of Hippolyte Duru, the celebrated mid-century binder under whom he had been apprenticed, calling his atelier Chambolle-Duru. His son continued the business on his father's retirement in 1898, introducing a formal range of floral decoration to supplement the inspired period-revival bindings for which the firm was known [both tendencies in evidence here]" (Duncan & DeBartha, 189). The date at the foot of the spines, 1671, matches the incorrect date given on the title page of Volume I. Bound with half titles. "Four variant states of the first edition have been recorded… The status of these variants has yet to be determined"; this is state A4 as in the Rothschild copy, with sig. A signed in lower case, the rest in capitals, and with "Mrs. Gwyllim" at Volume I, page 3. Rothschild 1925. Grolier 100, 112. Bookplate of Dr. Henri Stilling (1853-1911) bound into Volume I as a preliminary leaf at time of binding; Dr. Stilling was known for his valuable medical library; later morocco-gilt bookplate.

A splendidly bound copy in fine condition.

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