ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF HEADS OF THE PEOPLE, CIRCA 1841, HANDSOMELY BOUND, WITH ESSAYS BY HUNT, JERROLD, AND THACKERAY
MEADOWS, Kenny, illustrator. Heads of the People. London: David Bryce, circa 1841. Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century full blue morocco gilt, raised bands, top edge gilt. $650.
Early edition of this collection humorously profiling archetypical British figures from the governess to the chimney sweep, featuring dozens of wonderful illustrations by Kenny Meadows and essays by acclaimed authors such as Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, and William Thackeray.
Originally a draughtsman, Kenny Meadows distinguished himself early on with his work as an illustrator. “The Heads of the People, or Portraits of the English, published in 1838-40, and to which Thackeray and Douglas Jerrold contributed some of their earliest sketches, established his popularity as an artist… He was one of the first to introduce wood engraving among English publishers as a means of cheap and popular illustration” (DNB). These two volumes combine humor and English stereotypes about various people and professions to produce an altogether enjoyable and captivating visual and reading experience. The first edition originally appeared in parts between 1838 and 1839 and then was published in two book volumes between 1840 and 1841.
Interiors fine, only slight rubbing to extremities, mild toning to spines. A handsome set in very nearly fine condition.