12mo, pp. 36, with engraved frontispiece depicting two scenes; some browning and light foxing, bottom right corner of C1 neatly repaired, a few small repairs at inner margins; overall a good uncut copy in twentieth-century half red morocco with red cloth sides by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (front free endpaper stamped in ink), spine lettered directly in gilt; some wear to edges and sunning to lower cover.
Added to your basket:
The Life, strange Voyages, and uncommon Adventures, of Ambrose Gwinett, formerly known to the public as the Lame Beggar: who, for a long time swept the way at the Mew’s-Gate, Charing-Cross …
Very rare edition of this enormously popular novella, a kind of ‘Campden Wonder’ narrative involving an illusory murder, survival after hanging, flight to Jamaica, reappearance of the abducted ‘victim’, and reabduction by pirates. The attractive frontispiece depicts Gwinett surrounded by buccaneers and being wheeled towards the gallows in a cart with his coffin.
The attribution to the Irish dramatist Isaac Bickerstaff rests upon a note in the British Library copy of the 1770 ‘second edition’ that ‘Dr. Percy told me [unidentified] that he has heard that this pamphlet was a mere fiction, written by Mr. Bickerstaff, the dramatic poet’. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature calls this evidence ‘slight’, but lists Ambrose Gwinett among Bickerstaff’s works, and ESTC’s entries are found under his name.
Ambrose Gwinett, fiction or fact, proved extremely popular: it was immediately translated into French, and subsequently into German, and ESTC records twenty-one editions before 1801 printed in England, Scotland, and North America. The imprint here, ‘printed for J. Barker, near the Pit Door, in Russell-Court, Drury-Lane’, is that of James Barker, who operated from Russell Court between 1785 and 1794 (W.B. Todd, Directory of Printers, p. 9).
No copies traced in the UK. ESTC records one copy, at Los Angeles County Law Library, to which OCLC adds copies at New York Public Library and Stanford.
You may also be interested in...
HOMICIDAL GARDENER [MURDER.]
Arrest de la cour du Parlement, qui condamne Pierre Guyon, jardinier, à étre rompu vif ... dans la Place du Pilory de la Ville de Poitiers ... pour assassinats par lui commis de dessein prémédité envers Gabrielle Desplebin sa femme, et le sieur Bellayer, curé de la paroisse de Saint Cybard, et pour vol ... Extrait des registres du Parlement. Du dix-neuf Mai mil sept cent soixante-dix huit.
Very rare decree documenting the crimes and punishment of one Pierre Guyon, a murderous gardener from Poitiers; a case of green fingers turning blood-red.