MELVILLE, Herman. Mardi: and A Voyage Thither. London: Richard Bentley, 1849.
3 volumes, 8o. Half-title in volume 3 (lacking in volume two, none called for in volume one). Titles printed in red and black. Original blind-blocked pale green cloth, yellow endpapers [variant not in BAL] (some wear to extremities, some discoloration to boards, spines with a few small splits and losses, pale discoloration on front boards most likely from removal of a library label); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Colonel Browne, Royal Marines (signatures on the title-page of each volume). This could be any number of individuals, possibly the much decorated General Sir Samuel James Browne, namesake of the Sam Browne belt.
THE ONLY MELVILLE TRIPLE-DECKER OTHER THAN 'THE WHALE'
FIRST EDITION (slightly preceding the American edition). Melville's third book, an allegorical novel that marked his departure from the largely factual realm of his first two books, a move that alienated his readers and would culminate in his follow-up to Mardi, the mystical epic Moby-Dick. Melville's rarest English edition, seen less frequently than the triple-decker of The Whale. VERY RARE IN CLOTH. According to American Book Prices Current, only a single copy has sold at auction in at least thirty years, and that copy had volume one rebacked (Christie's New York, 15 December 1995, lot 27). BAL 13657.