NOT JUST A PRETTYFACE

of Primrose Prettyface, who by her Sweetness of Temper, & Love of Learning, was raised from being the Daughter of a poor Cottager, to great Riches, and the Dignity of the Lady of the Manor. Set forth for the Benefit & imitation of those pretty little Boys & Girls, who by learning their Books & obliging Mankind, would to Beauty of Body, add Beauty of Mind.

London, Printed & sold by J. Marshall & Co. … (Price 6d in Gilt Paper – 9d bound in Red.) [1788?]

24mo, pp. 88, [2], with an engraved title-page and frontispiece; wanting two leaves of terminal advertisements, but with, as a paste-down, a singleton with an advertisement for The Juvenile Magazine (not in ESTC but found in one copy we have previously handled); numerous woodcut vignette illustrations (all with contemporary amateur hand-colouring); title-page slightly soiled but a very good copy in the original Dutch floral boards, spine neatly restored; ownership inscription ‘Mary Heald 1796’, later gift inscription dated 1853.

£1000

Approximately:
US $1255€1170

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of Primrose Prettyface, who by her Sweetness of Temper, & Love of Learning, was raised from being the Daughter of a poor Cottager, to great Riches, and the Dignity of the Lady of the Manor. Set forth for the Benefit & imitation of those pretty little Boys & Girls, who by learning their Books & obliging Mankind, would to Beauty of Body, add Beauty of Mind.

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One of three undated editions, probably the last (adding Marshall’s Cheapside premises at 17 Queen St to the imprint), but the only one with an engraved title-page and frontispiece.

It is a classic rags-to-riches story in the mould of Little Goody Two-Shoes, in which Primrose earns her social upgrade (courtesy of a baronet) not just by her moral uprightness but also by her industrious scholarship. Inset narratives, such as that of ‘Eudoxus and Leontine’, reinforce the message of the importance of study and the possibility of social mobility. There is also much verse, all uncredited, but including Richard Jago’s ‘Elegy on a Black-Bird shot on Valentine’s Day’ and Isaac Watts on sibling love. 

ESTC records editions of pp. 105 (5 copies) and pp. 98 (Bodley, Indiana and Toronto), as well as the present, which it dates to 1789. However, the presence of an advertisement for a ‘New Publication’ – The Juvenile Magazine – which ran from January to December 1788, implies it may have been issued in 1788.

ESTC shows eight copies: BL, Cambridge; Free Library of Philadelphia, Indiana, Pierpont Morgan, UCLA, Wayne State, and Yale.

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