London: Published for the author, by Bradbury & Evans, Whitefriars, MDCCCXLVI . First Edition. Decorative Cloth. First Issue, with all correct points (see Eckel, Smith, and Podeschi, referenced below). Foolscap 8vo: ,270,2]pp, with four woodcut vignettes by Samuel Palmer (showing Villa d'Este, Colosseum, Street of the Tombs at Pompeii, and a vineyard scene). Original diaper-grain blue cloth, covers decorated in blind with elaborate arabesque border and round center ornament, spine decorated in blind and lettered in gilt, pale yellow coated end papers. A superb copy: internally virtually pristine, with crisp, clean pages; binding tight, gilt fresh and bright; lower cover with almost undetectable scattered areas of fading. Eckel, pp. 126-127. Smith II, pp. 48-58. Podeschi (Gimbel Collection) A98. Grolier (Dickens), pp. 101-103. Thomson 45. Pine-Coffin 844(5). Fine. Item #BB1538
Dickens, his wife, Kate, and her sister Georgina, with the Dickens's five children and several servants, left London by coach on July 2, 1844, bound for Italy. After one month's stay in the Villa Pallavicino della Peschiere, in Genoa (where Dickens wrote The Chimes), he and Kate left the children with Georgina and traveled south, stopping first in Pisa and Florence. In Rome, Dickens was captivated by the ruins, practically overcome, he later said, by the sight of the Coliseum. They also visited Herculaneum and Pompeii, making a perilous ascent to the rim of Vesuvius and peering into the "Hell of boiling fire below." Dickens published reports of his journey in the Daily News, as a series of eight "Travelling Letters. Written on the Road." Pictures from Italy (incorporating the letters, with five chapters added) appeared in book form on May 18, 1846, but not before hitting a rather tortuous bump in the road: "Clarkson Stanfield had agreed to illustrate the text for Dickens but, when he read those passages of the narrative in which Dickens satirises the excesses of Catholic devotion, he resigned from the project. Stanfield was himself a prominent English Catholic, after all, as Dickens knew, and he could scarcely be connected with a publication which treats his Church's ritual as little more than a parade of mummers. . . . As usual, Dickens went at once into action in order to find a substitute; fortunately and curiously, he chose a young artist who then had no real reputation, Samuel Palmer, whose wonderful illustrations are not the least of the merits of Pictures from Italy in its final state" (Ackroyd, Dickens, pp. 491-92). N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.