The happy courtship, merry marriage, and pic nic dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren. To which is added, alas! The doleful death of the bridegroom
The happy courtship, merry marriage, and pic nic dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren. To which is added, alas! The doleful death of the bridegroom
The happy courtship, merry marriage, and pic nic dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren. To which is added, alas! The doleful death of the bridegroom
The happy courtship, merry marriage, and pic nic dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren. To which is added, alas! The doleful death of the bridegroom

Twenty-six plates with exemplary hand-coloring

The happy courtship, merry marriage, and pic nic dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren. To which is added, alas! The doleful death of the bridegroom

London: printed for J. Harris, corner of St. Paul’s, 1814. Small square 4to, pp. 16; engraved and hand-colored frontispiece and twenty-five hand-colored and engraved plates; original printed tan wrappers, light wear and soiling, expert restoration to the foot of the spine; generally a very good copy with extraordinary hand-coloring. Many juveniles such as this are often hand-colored, but the coloring in this copy seems extremely accurate and of another caliber. "Cock Robin..." is believed by some scholars to be derived from the early Norse myth about the death of Balder, god of summer sunlight and the incarnation of the life principle, who was slain by Hoder at Loki's instigation. The evidence of word usage, ie. shouell would indicate a fourteenth century origin for the verse. There are also sixteenth century references to similar tales. Then, the ballad evidently had renewed life as an allegory of the intrigues around the 1742 downfall of Sir Robert Walpole, First Earl of Oxford (1676-1745), whose ministry was known as the Robinocracy. Its first appearance in a nursery book coincided with this time period--the first four verses were in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book [ca. 1744] -- after ca. 1770 the entire verse was a favorite, being printed in numerous editions as chapbooks and toy books, and being included in collections" (Delamar.org). "First published in 1806 by John Harris who possibly commissioned the writing of the story to be a forerunner of the old rhyme The Death and Burial of Cock Robin" (Osborne, p. 92). The wrapper imprint reads: "Printed for J. Harris, Successor to E. Newberry, at the Original Juvenile Library, the corner of St. Paul's Churchyard." Although this copy is very similar to item 144.4 in Marjorie Moon’s John Harris’s Books for Youth, 1801-1843, it is not exactly the same. The plate count and misprint on page 4 are identical, and the dates on the engravings (1806) are the same, but this copy has a different publisher’s binding. Moon calls for a picture of John Harris’s shop on the front wrapper, not present here. Ours is simply printed with the work’s title page information surrounded by an ornamental border. Hard to say about OCLC counts. There are certainly copies at NYPL and Illinois State, and the copy at the BL appears to be defective. Earliest edition in Osborne is ca. 1830. Item #57623

Price: $950.00

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