CATNACH, James & others (publishers). [A collection of 30 farthing histories]. London: James Catnach (27 titles), Ryle & Co., J.Pitts and J.Paul & Co. (1 title each), [circa 1830].
30 works (16 pages each title) in one volume, 16° (but uncut and bound as 8°: 193 x 125mm.). 480pp. on 60 leaves. First and last 'page' of each work with an overall coloured wash, each leaf creased for folding. Numerous woodcut illustrations. Later half-calf. Provenance: James Orchard Halliwell (presentation label and inscription); Penzance Library (inked over stamp).
VERY RARE IN THIS FORM. Titles include Old Dame Trot and her comical cat, The London Cries, The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, The History of Sir R.Whittington and his cat. Halliwell was perhaps the greatest of the early chapbook enthusiasts, and published works on broadside ballads and the nursery rhymes of England. Sothebys sold part of his library over four days, after his death, in July 1889. His inscription is as applicable today as it was when he wrote it: 'Pieces of this kind are exceedingly well worth keeping as illustrative of the lower popular child literature & after a time they always become immensly rare.'