FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY, OF VIZETELLY'S FACTS ABOUT SHERRY, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR
VIZETELLY, Henry. Facts About Sherry, Gleaned in the Vineyards and Bodegas of the Jerez, Seville, Moguer, & Montilla Districts During the Autumn of 1875. London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1876. Slim octavo, original gilt-stamped pictorial blue cloth. $3800.
First edition, presentation copy, of this complete 19th-century guide to sherry, with over two dozen illustrations of vineyards and sherry production, inscribed on the title page to a well-known British journalist and playwright: "Blanchard Jerrold Esq. with the Author's cordial regards," in original pictorial cloth-gilt.
English journalist Vizetelly, "living in Paris when the Franco-Prussian war broke out, was captured and only narrowly escaped execution. Following the war he took up residence outside of Paris and 'resumed my studies of the more famous wines of the world" (Gabler, 291). His extensive knowledge of wine earned him a role of wine juror at the Vienna and Paris wine exhibitions in 1873 and 1878. For this work, he spent 3 months in the sherry district of Southern Spain during 1875. "This is an interesting book not only because it tells us about sherry but because of what it tells us about the people, their customs, and their problems" (Gabler G40310). With publisher's advertisements. This copy is inscribed to William Blanchard Jerrold, a famous 19th-century journalist and playwright. Jerrold began his career writing for the Daily News, Illustrated London News, The Athenaeum, his father's journal, Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper, and Dickens' Household Words/All the Year Round, often focusing on social issues and travel. Later, Jerrold expanded his journalistic undertakings, wrote for the stage, and undertook several impressive literary endeavors including biographies of Napoleon and Cruikshank and several books on Egypt. Jerrold, however, was best known to literary London as part of a group of bons vivants, "a set of young bohemian journalists, miscellaneous writers, and general bons viveurs, including George Augustus Sala, Peter Cunningham, and two of Dickens's younger brothers, that met to dine 'three or four nights a week at certain favourite restaurants… He also acquired a reputation as a gourmet and under the pen-name Fin-Bec published several books on gastronomy, such as The Epicure's Year-Book (1867) and The Dinner Bell (1878), and edited a periodical, The Knife and Fork (1871–2), which began as a monthly and became a twopenny weekly. In all these publications Jerrold (as Fin-Bec) lays great emphasis on the avoidance of waste and what is called in the first number of The Knife and Fork 'the art of eating healthily, with refinement, and with economy'" (DNB). This work no doubt brought him into contact with Vizatelly, a recognized expert on wine and a likely member of Jerrold's social set.
Interior generally fine, light wear and soiling to cloth, mild toning to spine, gilt quite bright. A near-fine copy, scarce inscribed and with such an interesting association.