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Cowper, William

Poems by William Cowper. [3 vol.]. Alice fore-edge painting

Poems by William Cowper. [3 vol.]. Alice fore-edge painting

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Book design / English literature / Firsts London 2024 / Lewis Carroll
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Cowper, William Poems by William Cowper. [3 vol.]. 

Illustrations by Thomas Stothard.

London, J. Johnson, 1798-1815. 
Small 8vo, vol. 1. X, [2], 324 pp., [4] l.pl.; vol. 2. IV, [4], 335, [1] pp., [6] l.pl.; vol. 3. LXXXIV, 434 pp.  

In contemporary red straight-grain morocco and owner modern box. Gilt monogram 'F.M.' in the center of each cover. Panels with gilt borders, gilt-lettered on spine, gilt edges. 
In good condition, overall wear, chipped at upper spine extremity (vol 3), cover of third volume partly detached, bookplates to front pastedown, pencil marks, ownership initials 'A.M.C.' dated 1807.

Each volume contains a fore-edge painting depicting characters from 'Alice in Wonderland', including Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the Queen of Hearts. 
The artist behind these images remains unknown, but it's worth noting that William Cowper (1731-1800) had a connection with Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) and may have somehow anticipated themes found in 'Alice in Wonderland'. Cowper composed conversations between otherwise inanimate objects, as seen in the poem 'From a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Newton'. Additionally, he wrote 'The Poet, the Oyster, and the Sensitive Plant', where the poet overhears a complaintive argument between an oyster and a shrub.

From the Collection of Stephen and Nancy Farber. 

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