Rip van Winkle; a posthumous Writing of Diedrich Knickerbocker … Illustrated with six Etchings in Steel, by Charles Simms, from Drawings by Felix Darley (New York).

London: Joseph Cundall … 1850.

8vo, pp. 31, [1 (blank)]; six engraved plates with delicate contemporary hand-colouring; the odd small tear to margins, endpapers slightly foxed, else a very good copy in original green pebble-grained cloth, base of spine bumped, red morocco label to spine, gilt; armorial bookplate to both pastedowns; gift inscription: ‘Elijah(?) P. Rowley – from Sir G – Christmas Day, 1858'.


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Rip van Winkle; a posthumous Writing of Diedrich Knickerbocker … Illustrated with six Etchings in Steel, by Charles Simms, from Drawings by Felix Darley (New York).

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First English edition, rare, first published as Illustrations of Rip Van Winkle (New York, 1848) in oblong folio. For this more compact English edition the publisher and early photographic entrepreneur Joseph Cundall made an early use of photography: ‘The present illustrations have been reduced from the originals, which are much larger, by the agency of the daguerreotype, and I hope that the expression of every line has been most faithfully preserved’. Simms would most likely have traced the images that the daguerreotypes transferred to the engraved plates, though he also went on to publish photolithography.

The publisher Cundall was practising photography himself from at least 1847, when he was one of the twelve founder members of the Photographic Club. This book, appearing in the aftermath of his bankruptcy in 1849, was produced as part of a short-lived partnership with another formerly-bankrupt bookseller and shortly before another move in 1852 to 168 New Bond Street (ODNB). Children’s books continued to be appear despite these upheavals. Cundall was again a founder member in 1853 of the Photographic Society and in the same year set up a full-time studio, which famously documented the war heroes of the Crimea and Brunel’s construction of the Great Eastern and of which Lewis Carroll was a customer.

OCLC lists six copies in North American libraries; not listed in COPAC.

McLean, Joseph Cundall, p. 70.

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