London: John Van Voorst, 1843. 4to. xv, [i], 306 pp., including half-title. With 32 text engravings. Full red morocco, boards gilt-ruled, gilt edges and dentelles, with white and gold patterned end-papers; an exquisite copy from the library of James Anderson Rose (see below) with his armorial bookplate. Item #12203
ENGRAVINGS BY WILLIAM MULREADY. The first edition to appear with the engravings by Mulready. “Embellishments of English books have usually been characterized by those powers of art which appeal more particularly to the eye. The object aimed at in this attempt to illustrate the most popular of Goldsmith’s works is, that character and composition may, with the aid of drawing, appeal directly to the understanding. It is presumed that the most distinguished talent of British Art applicable to this purpose has been obtained.”
Mulready's brilliance as an artist was recognized at an early age, having been accepted to the Royal Academy School at the age of 14. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy at the age of 31, and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur for paintings that he sent the Paris International Exhibition. He was launched into certain fame as a book illustrator after his work in The Vicar of Wakefield.
Provenance: Rose (1819-90) was a solicitor, as well as a major print collector, confidant, and friend of artists, including James McNeill Whistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He owned The Sleeper and Sleeping woman and had a magnificent collection of James Whistler's etchings.
NSTC, I&II, 2M40682.