Writing blanks depicting The Lords Supper [and] Paul Preaching at Athens, inscribed with handwriting exercises by the same person a year apart.
[London]: Printed and Published by J. Fairburn, Featherstone, Street City Road [and] Published Oct[obe]r 1st, 1839 by J. Fairburn, 110 Minories. Two handcoloured prints, each bordering calligraphed bible verses, name and date. The first (384 x 486 mm) shows Paul Preaching at Athens, six smaller scenes from the Book of Acts, and a tailpiece with obelisks and palms, framing the handwritten text of Acts 17: 22-25. The other (375 x 468 mm) shows The Lords Supper, six smaller scenes from the Book of Luke, and a tailpiece with arks, lambs and palms, framing the handwritten text of Luke 22:14-21. Both sheets very good with some light soiling, mounted on cardstock; a 260mm closed tear through the center of the Lords Supper sheet is neatly conserved. Two well-preserved writing blanks, each completed with bible verses by one John Fitch, the first in December 19th 1848, and the second almost exactly a year later in December 18th 1849. Fitch was presumably a schoolboy and these two handwriting exercise rather sweetly preserve his progress from one year to the next. The publisher, John Fairburn, printed and sold caricatures, popular prints, maps, light pornography, and chapbooks in Regency London. Of Fairburn we know that there was more than one John Fairburn from the same family active in the publishing and print selling trade from about the 1790s through 1840. But there is no doubt that the John Fairburn of 110 Minories was William Hones main rival as a radical bookseller during this period, before the great Victorian reaction, and that both publishers were part of a small London based coterie of radical Methodists and infidels that grew up around the great engravers William Hogarth, Thomas Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, and Isaac Cruikshank, and the land reformer Thomas Spence (Ken Giese for Between the Covers).
(Item Id: 109228)