3 December 2007,
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Price Realised USD 6,000
[LEECH, John (1817-1864)]. [DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870)]. MASON, John (1706-1763). Self-Knowledge. A Treatise... London: John Sharpe, 1824.
12o (162 x 95 mm). 4 engraved vignette-titles (some spotting), drawings by John Leech on front endleaves (see below). Contemporary calf, gilt border of single fillet, spine in five compartments with four raised bands, gilt-lettered black morocco label in one, others decorated with borders of triple fillets with stylized flower tools at each corner, board edges and turn-ins with blind leaf in semi-circle roll; blue morocco gilt solander box by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Provenance: F.W.L. McCurdy (?); John Leech (presentation inscription to); Miss Knowles.
ORIGINAL DRAWING, PENCIL PORTRAIT OF CHARLES DICKENS BY JOHN LEECH titled "Mr. Dickens" (93 x 50 mm) and dated 1837 on the front pastedown. Dickens is drawn as a young man in his late 20s from his left profile. Leech has drawn five other pencil sketch portraits on the front endleaves: one a caricature of a young man titled "Rejected", a young woman signed "J. Leech", a small self-portrait, and two other young women; on the recto of the first blank he has drawn a self-portrait (150 x 93 mm) signed "John Leech". Leech has inscribed the recto of the first blank: "from J. Leech to his friend Miss Knowles".
John Leech probably first came into Dickens' orbit when he applied to replace the recently demised Robert Seymour as illustrator for Pickwick Papers (1836-1837). Though the commission fell to R.W. Buss and then Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz") his later illustrations to Dickens' Christmas Books (1843-1848) have immortalized the spirit of Christimas for generations ever since. Though Samuel Laurence and George Cruikshank drew Dickens in 1837 portraits of Dickens dating from the outset of his career are relatively rare.
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