DICKENS, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865.
2 volumes, 8o (212 x 135 mm). Half-titles. 40 wood-engraved plates, including frontispiece, after Marcus Stone by Dalziel and W.T. Green. (Bound without ads or "To the Reader" slip.) Contemporary red half morocco, marbled boards, edges gilt (some rubbing to joints and extremities); quarter morocco slipcase.
Provenance: WILLIAM CHARLES KENT (1823-1902), journalist and editor, close friend of Dickens (presentation inscription from the author); Seth Sprague Terry and Ward E. Terry (bookplate, their sale American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, 4 December 1935, lot 126); Alain de Suzannet (bookplate, his sale Sotheby's, 22 November 1971, lot 130).
FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM. AN OUTSTANDING PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY DICKENS TO HIS FRIEND CHARLES KENT on the dedication page: "Charles Dickens To Charles Kent. Seventeenth November, 1865." As the last number of Our Mutual Friend was issued in November 1865, this copy was apparently inscribed shortly after the complete work was published.
At the age of twenty-two, Charles Kent became editor of The Sun in December 1845. As one of the first journals to publish book reviews, Kent came to know many of the writers of the day and "it was through Kent's review of Dombey and Son that he first met Charles Dickens, who had written asking the editor to express his 'warmest acknowledgements and thanks' to the reviewer. Kent's admission of authorship was the beginning of a lifelong friendship" (DNB). Kent would contribute to Dickens's Household Words and All the Year Round, these articles later being collected as Footprints on the Road (1864, dedicated to Dickens). Kent organized the lavish final dinner before Dickens's 1867 trip to America and wrote of these performances in Charles Dickens as Reader (1872). Kent was the recipient of the last letter Dickens ever wrote, which he presented to the British Museum in 1879. In addition to Dickens, he was friends with Leigh Hunt, the first and second Lord Lytton, Charles Reade, Robert Browning, George Meredith, Wilkie Collins, and Matthew Arnold. Smith I:15; Yale/Gimbel A150. A VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPY. (2)