Brand-New Ballads by Charles G. Leland, Hans Breitmann, with Many Illustrations by Hal Ludlow, Thomas Dalziel, and the Author.
London: Fun Office, 1885. Small 8vo, vi, 149 pages, illustrated throughout. A.N.s. by Leland tipped in between front endpapers, with tissue guards; original pen & ink sketch by Leland tipped onto flyleaf. Engraved bookplates of the Dalziel family and of William Harris Arnold. Contemporary deep red straight-grain patterned calf, backstrip gilt, upper cover rehinged. First edition; a second edition was issued in London later in 1885, but apparently there was no American edition. Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903) was a busy journalist and editor until his "Hans Breitmann Ballads," humorous verses written in an atrocious German accent, made him famous around the world. He was also a keen student of folklore and language and is still cited as an authority (sometimes a false authority) on Gypsies and Witchcraft. Leland contributed many comic poems to "Fun", a humorous periodical conducted for many years by the Dalziels, the large and highly skilled clan of illustrators and engravers that played a key role in English illustration of the Victorian era. On December 25, 1880, Leland dispatched from Philadelphia to the Dalziels in London the manuscript of a poem, "The Legend of St. Anthony," along with a sketch illustrating the poem and a brief letter of transmittal. The poem tells of a nouveau riche New Yorker who commissions a Florentine artist to paint his features into a portrait of the early Church father St. Anthony. When the portrait arrives in New York, it is publicly unveiled, and Mr. Anthony is humiliated to see that the painter has depicted him in dirty rags and almost hidden behind a huge pig, the symbol of the patron saint of swine. In his letter Leland declares that his poem is based on an actual incident that occurred more than thirty years previously.Clearly the Dalziels were charmed by the poem and illustration; and, after this book (printed at their own Caxton Press) was issued in wrappers, they had it elegantly bound with the letter and sketch inserted and affixed their own splendid wood-engraved circular bookplate, a tour de force of complex patterns around an intricate interlocking monogram of the letters in the word Dalziel. Later this volume was acquired by William Harris Arnold (1854-1923), one of the most eminent American book collectors, who was especially fond of association material. [BAL 11628.]
(Item Id: 5770)