First edition, first printing of Charles Dickens' first book. Three volumes. Finely and uniformly bound by Bayntun Riviere in full dark green morocco, gilt stamped portrait of Dickens to the upper board, the author's signature in facsimile stamped in gilt to the lower board. Five raised bands, gilt decorated compartments and titles in gilt to the spine. Gilt decorated board edges and inner dentelles. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. 'Sketches' is illustrated with 16 plates by George Cruikshank (complete), however plate 4 'London Recreations' called for opposite page 142 in volume I, has been misbound at page 142 in volume II. Tissue guards to the frontispiece of both volumes. 'Second Series' is illustrated with 20 plates by George Cruikshank (complete). Retaining the half-title, Publisher's adverts discarded. An attractive set, the bindings in fine condition and without fading. The first two volumes, with the cropped or faded ownership signature of Charles Tovey (1812-1888, merchant and writer of wines) at the head of the title pages. The contents of all three volumes, with some toning and spotting to the margins throughout, are otherwise clean and without loss or tears.
The first edition of Charles Dickens first book was published in two volumes in February 1836, just a month before the publication of the first number in the parts issue of The Pickwick Papers. The sketches were praised for their "humour, wit, touches of pathos, and the 'startling fidelity' of their descriptions of London life" (ODNB). The 'Second Series' was published ten months later in December 1836. Both were subsequently re-issued in various formats (book form, collected and parts) to satisfy demand. (Smith: Dickens in Original Cloth, part one: 1;2)
Stock code: 23772