London 1837 [i.e., April 1836-November 1837]: Chapman & Hall. First Edition. Item #09574
[A part-by-part description of this item may be seen on our website, parkhurstrarebooks.com]. First edition in the original monthly parts, 20 parts in 19; original green wrappers. "With forty-three illustrations by Seymour and Phiz" (and Buss); of these 43 plates, 30 are first issue. A NEAR PRIME COPY, lacking just 2 of the 11 points required in Eckel's bibliography "The First Editions of the Writings of Charles Dickens." The two "Eckel" points lacking in the present set are #2 (parts I and II front wraps must carry the words "With Four Illustrations by Seymour.") and #3 (Part III front wrap must carry the words "With Illustrations by R. W. Buss"). The remaining 9 "Eckel" points are all within this set. These 11 points are enumerated below. Octavo, [i-v]vi[vii]viii-ix[x-xi]xii-xiv[xv-xvi], 2-609. First issue of the vignette title, with "Tony Veller" on sign. This outstanding set has the suppressed Buss plates in part III. Plates in part I are as follows: (1) Second state of first Seymour plate. (2) Second state of the first Seymour plate. (3) First state of second Seymour plate. (4) First state of second Seymour plate. The plates in part II are in the first state. Parts with first state (original) plates are II, III (Buss), part IV (second state of the original plates), V, VI (first plates, second state), VII (first plate, second state), VIII, IX, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII and XVIII; in part XIX/XX, plate 40 is second plate - plate 41 is first plate, vignette title and frontis are first plate. Other plates are second or early states. ALL plates are before letters (i.e., without captions). As called for in Hatton & Cleaver, plates in parts I through XI have page numbers; plates in parts XII through XIX/XX have no page numbers. Relative to the page numbers in part XII, let us quote Hatton & Cleaver, page 63: "The earliest state of the original and duplicate plates to this part 12, and all which follow, should have no etched page-number. It has been repeatedly stated and published, that they must carry the pagination, but this is not so; the earliest states exist as described above." In this, Miller & Strange agree: (See Miller & Strange "A Centenary Bibliography of the Pickwick Papers, page 45: "Both plates [in part XII] appear unpaged as well as paged, the former prior to the latter."). Plates in part XVI are browned at edges. All other plates are very good to fine. Thomas Hatton has ANNOTATED the verso of the plates in part XVI thus: [plate 34] "1st Issue / legs of chair turned" and [plate 35] "1st Issue / Cockade in Sam's hat / & balustrade" - Tissue guards are in place. Parts having correct, or first issue, wrappers are IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII and XIX/XX. All other wrappers are early issues and correctly numbered. Spines expertly renewed on most parts. ALL wraps bear the date 1836. Rear wrap of part X has small chip at spine. Subscriber's name in margin of front wrap of parts XI, XIII and XVII. ALL seven (7) of the addresses are present; this is remarkable for a Pickwick. The "Death of Seymour" address in part II is in first state and the address in part III is in the first state. The address in part X is in 2nd state. The front slip is lacking in parts I and III, as well as the rear ads. The "Advertiser" is lacking in parts IV through IX (none were issued in the first 3 parts). The Advertiser is present in all others (parts X through XIX/XX). Rear ads are lacking in parts III, V, VII, VIII and IX. Parts having the first issue text are IX (but with "X2" on page 261), XII, XIII, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII (part XIX/XX was not revised before the publication of the bound volume, a fortnight later. Therefore, it is not possible to distinguish between a first and second issue in part form). The text in all other parts is either early, or mixed. The following parts are complete, having all the ads and slips called for: II (with early wraps), X, XI, XII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII and XIX/XX; and part XIII is complete, but for the rare "Pigot's Colored Views" which Hatton & Cleaver states, is so rare as to be "almost an unknown quantity" and is known in only 6 copies. Four etchings on steel had been planned for each part. Part I did have 4 plates, but the illustrator, Robert Seymour, died having finished only 3 plates for part II. Starting with part III, each part would have 2 plates each and a new illustrator was hired: Robert William Buss. Dickens was not pleased with his work, so the "suppressed Buss plates" appear only in part III and were phased out after several months. Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz") was chosen to complete the work, starting with part IV. In June, 1837, part XV was delayed one month, because of a death in the author's family. Despite all this, "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" was completed in November, 1837 and it had made Charles Dickens famous. When part I of "Pickwick" was published, Dickens was relatively unknown, so only 1,000 copies were printed. Sales were slow, so the publisher chose to print only 500 copies of part II. Then it began to sell. Parts I and II were reprinted before part III was published. The texts of parts I through VIII were reprinted many times at early dates. Hence the paucity of first, or early issues of the first eight parts. Let us enumerate the 11 points required by Eckel, for a Prime Pickwick: #1. All covers must bear the date 1836. #2. Parts I and II front wrappers must carry the words, "With Four Illustrations By Seymour." #3. Part III front wrapper must carry the words "With Illustrations by R. W. Buss." #4. Part I must have four plates by Seymour, signed, and not re-etched by Phiz. #5. Part II must have 3 plates by Seymour signed. #6. Part III must have the two plates signed "Drawn and etched by R. W. Buss," and the page numbers. #7. Part IV has the two plates indistinctly signed "Nemo" and not "Phiz." #8. Parts II, III, X and XV must have the addresses by the Author. #9. Parts XVII, XVIII and XX addresses by the publishers. #10. Plates in Parts I to XII must have no captions, only references to the pages where they were inserted; parts XIII to XX have neither titles nor numerical guides. #11. On the vignette title page the name "Weller" on the signboard over the door must appear with a "V," and the signature "Phiz fecit" must surround the tablet at the bottom of the frontispiece. The present Pickwick lacks only numbers 2 and 3, above. Housed in a custom green cloth slipcase, with chemise. Armorial bookplate is affixed to chemise. Provenance: The Hatton & Cleaver Collection, The Heritage Bookshop, Charles Parkhurst Rare Books, Inc. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 1-88.