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Caulfield, James. Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters of Remarkable Persons

Caulfield, James. Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters of Remarkable Persons

"from The Revolution in 1688 to the end of The reign of George II. Collected from the most authentic accounts extant.."

London: H.R. Young and T.H. Whitely, 1819.

8vo. Four volumes. Glorious contemporary black morocco gilt, lushly decorated in blind to boards in such a manner that, were it to be gilded, Versailles would end up making complaints about flagrant vulgarity.Minor edgewear and scuffing, very light wear, hinges strong, a simply delightful set. All edges gilt, internally clean, some offsetting from the myriad of engravings and in text illustrations, but nothing ugly or displeasing. A clean, sharp copy. Caulfield’s Characters is a book that by rights everyone should own, along with a copy of the Newgate Calendar, Johnson’s Lives of The Pirates, and a bunch of execution broadsides and playbills (which at the times were pretty much the same thing). Basically it is a deliriously wonderful Who’s Who of every conjoined twin, roguish bookseller, notorious hermit, incompetent criminal (James Whitney being on of my favourites; gets drunk, sets out to steal a prize calf from an inn, creeps into the wrong stable and gets mauled by a travelling dancing bear...whereupon he vows never to steal calves again), some very competent criminals, an account of the feud between Old Harry and Jemmy La Roche; Raree Showmen; James Poro and his parasitic twin, the unpleasant exploits of Lodowick Campbell, Thief Taker, and a couple of hundred more, including one of my personal favourites; Bampfylde Moore Carew, adopted “gypsy”, cross dressing con-man, spurious clairvoyant and self styled Beggar King. Booksellers also feature prominently, make of that what you will. An outstanding work of ineffable worth and beauty, because I say so.

[Ref: 691]

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