PICTURES BY DICKENS' FIRST ILLUSTRATOR
PEAKE, R. B. SNOBSON'S SEASONS, being annals of Cockney sports. (London particular.) London: Published by M. A. Nattali, . First edition. 91 of 92 engraved caricatures poking fun at the misadventures of sporting men in the horse and hound set, amateur anglers, etc., by Robert Seymour, Dickens' first illustrator. The plates include two illustrated half-titles with the title "Seymour's Sketches." vii, 104 pp. Tall octavo, bound by Bayntun of Bath in green, three-quarter crushed morocco with marbled sides, gilt titling to spine ("Seymour's Sketches" and "Snobson's Seasons"), t.e.g. Bookplate to front pastedown. Binding shows some edgewear and is rubbed at joints, and sunned at spine and top edges. The plates are remarkably clean and bright with faint offsetting of plates to text. Very good overall. Robert Seymour (1800-1836) was a prolific illustrator and caricaturist. Although heavily influenced by Cruikshank's style, his original contribution to the genre was the routine of comic sportsmen from London having adventures in the country. Today he is most recognized for having provided the prototypes for the characters Pickwick and Winkle in the early installments of Charles Dickens' "Pickwick Papers" before his untimely death.
Richard Brinsley Peake (1792-1847) was a productive and popular playwright, much valued for his dependability over the course of his forty-year career. One of his many contributions to the theatre was "Presumption, or, The Fate of Frankenstein" (1824), the first dramatic adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." He was also a prolific family man who, to paraphrase his own self assessment, though never idle, was often poor. In the 1830s and 1840s he began to publish in periodicals for vital extra cash. "Snobson's Seasons" is a light-hearted history of cockney sports. References: D.N.B.; Houfe, 296; Benezit; Westwood & Satchell, 193. Scare, only two copies at auction in over 30 years.