1808. London: Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1808.
12mo, , 160 pp., 5 hand-colored plates including a folding frontispiece. Scarlet straight-grain morocco of the period, gilt edges. Frontispiece with a tear in one of the folds with slight loss, plates and text printed on poor paper and thus quite browned throughout, still a pleasing book.
§ First printed in 1753 this title remained popular well into the 19th century. Separate chapters provide tailored guidance to parents, husbands, wives, lovers, friends, masters and mistresses of servants, and patronesses of humble companions, and ends with the catch-all section "General Rules for Plaguing All Your Acquaintance." The folding frontispiece is by Rowlandson. Halkett & Laing. v.2; p. 195. DNB: "Jane Collier's first known appearance in print is An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753). The daughter of Collier's old Salisbury friend James Harris later claimed that 'great part' of it was written by him, but she offered no evidence... Quoted by Samuel Johnson in volume two of his Dictionary (in spirit, if not literally, this was one of his few infringements on his principle of excluding living authors), it is couched in the Scriblerian tradition of ironic instruction in undesirable skills, like Pope on poetic bathos, Swift on malpractices of servants, or Henry Fielding on the writing of inspirational biography. Under this guise it probes the 'labyrinths and inward turns of the mind' in abuse of power in human relationships, especially that of mistress to servants or 'humble companion', with acute psychological insight no doubt won while living as a dependant. Its closing fable relates how an account of 'the misery that is endured, from the entrance of teeth and claws into living flesh' was adjudged after much debate to have been written from experience not of preying but of being preyed upon." Item #123306