Christmas Books

DICKENS, Charles

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY

DICKENS, Charles Christmas Books

Chapman and Hall, 1852.

First collected edition. Author's presentation copy, inscribed by Dickens on the inserted blank facing frontispiece, "Agnes Sarah Lawrence, from her affectionate friend Charles Dickens, Twenty Second November 1852". Octavo (180 x 118 mm). Publisher's presentation binding of contemporary red calf, with raised bands and green calf title label to the spine and elaborate gilt decoration to the sections. Double gilt rule and blind stamped border to covers. All edges gilt, marbled endpapers with green silk page marker. Engraved frontispiece by John Leech, text in double columns. A very good copy indeed with a neat repair to the front joint and head of the spine and a few trivial scratches to the cover. Internally fresh with a modicum of foxing to the frontispiece. Housed in a custom made red cloth chemise and red morocco-backed slipcase.

The recipient Agnes Sarah Lawrence (born c.1835, and a young lady at the time of this inscription) was the daughter John Towers Lawrence of Balsall Heath, near Birmingham. Dickens corresponded with her father in February that year about bringing a group of amateur players to Birmingham. The following Christmas, Dickens returned to Birmingham to give a three-and-a-half-hour reading of A Christmas Carol and The Cricket on the Hearth at the Birmingham Town Hall - the first of his famous readings.
Copies for presentation were evidently specially prepared with a heavy text leaf replacing the standard tissue guard. The Gimbel Collection, now at Yale, includes three presentation copies of this edition, each similarly inscribed on an inserted front blank and dated November 1852. Dickens's Christmas books were published here together for the first time, with a new preface by Dickens.

PROVENANCE: Agnes Sarah Lawrence (1835-1911, presentation inscription from the author); Sold at auction 1931 to Dawson's Bookshop, California (bookseller's catalogue description tipped in); sold in 1932 to Estelle Doheny (1875-1958, noted collector who built "one of the rarest book libraries in the United States", morocco book label to front pastedown); sold at the Doheny sale (October 1998) to Jock Elliot; sold at the Elliot sale (December 2006); Private British collection.

Stock ID: 40312

£60,000.00

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