Hard Cover. London: Chapman & Hall, 1837. First Edition. Fine.
Illustrations by Robert Seymour, Robert William Buss, and Hablot Knight Browne. First edition, first printing, three of the first issue points called for by Smith: "S. Veller" uncorrected on p. 342, "this friends" on p. 400, and "OF" imperfect on heading of p. 432. Contemporary full red polished calf with five raised bands and two spine labels in dark green, spines lettered and beautifully decorated in gilt, all edges gilt, blue and red marbled endpapers. A beautiful copy with only some light scattered foxing and the usual toning to the plates, early former ownership signature to second blank. An excellent and extremely bright copy in a fine binding. Smith I, 3. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was originally published serially in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly installments from April 1836 - November 1837. This first edition was published shortly after on November 17, 1837. The project was originally conceived by illustrator Robert Seymour, who envisioned a series of humorous stories about the adventures of amateur Cockney sportsmen. Chapman and Hall employed Dickens to create a cohesive narrative that provided a background story for the illustrations. However, the bold young writer purportedly wrote with little regard to the illustrations, even making suggestions for their alterations at times, much to Seymour's displeasure. After the second installment was completed, Seymour committed suicide and was replaced in the Pickwick project by Robert Buss. However, Dickens found Buss' work unfavorable, and Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"), who would continue to illustrate many of Dickens' subsequent novels, took over as the Pickwick illustrator. Smith comments on the complicated history of Pickwick's illustration: "The history of the creation of the plates is perhaps as complex as that of the printing of the text, and different states of a plate and different plates for the same subject may vary from one bound copy to another…seldom, in fact, are all of the plates located in copies in the original cloth or rebound ones," which he partially attributes to the lack of a list of illustrations.