11 - 13 July 2000
[JOHNSON, Samuel (1709-1784)]. The Idler. London: J. Newberry, 1761.
2 volumes, 12°. (Some light browning.) Uncut in contemporary marbled boards (rebacked in leather, probably a made-up set), blue morocco solander case. PRESENTATION COPY of volume II which is inscribed on title: 'This Work was given to Esther Burney by the venerable Author. She sitting upon his lap at the time'. Front free endpaper also inscribed 'Esther Burney 1760' twice, although the book was not in fact published until October 1761. Provenance: A.D. Broughton (bookplate); Cortlandt F. Bishop (morocco booklabel). Recorded in Fleeman's Handlist (1984) 133 as an item in Maggs Catalogue 809, of 1952, priced at £45. It had previously been included in part 2 of the Courtlandt F. Bishop Sale at the American Anderson Galleries.
FIRST COLLECTED EDITION. Esther Burney (afterwards Mrs Burney, of Bath, an accomplished harpsichordist) was one of six children born to Dr. Charles Burney and Esther Sleepe, and the older sister of Fanny Burney. Although the inscription in volume II is not in Johnson's hand, the fact that the recipient gives us a picture of herself as a child, sitting on Johnson's knee, is probably more evocative than anything even Johnson himself might have written. Courtney and Smith p. 83; Chapman and Hazen p. 142; Fleeman 58.4Id/2a. (2)
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