London: Richard Griffin and Company, 1861. 8vo (21.8 x 15.7 cm). Publisher’s original green cloth with gilt titles and decoration to the upper board and spine, gilt to all page edges. Illustrated with 20 mounted albumen prints. A lovely near-fine copy, the binding firm and bright. The contents with a previous owner’s bookplate to the front pastedown and a little spotting to the endpapers, are otherwise clean and fresh throughout. A superb example of a very scarce title. Item #406039
FIRST EDITION of one of the earliest works of poetry to be illustrated by photography. The anthology combines extracts from authors including Keats, Clare, Wordsworth, Cowper, and Longfellow, with mounted photographs depicting idyllic scenes of contemporary rural life by the renowned stereographer William Morris Grundy (1806-1859), to create a harmonious interweaving of verse and imagery. Grundy was born in Birmingham, moving to Sutton Coldfield in 1850. Initially taking up photography as a hobby in 1855, he went on to achieve notable commercial success with his series of stereoscopic genre scenes. Following his death, the London Stereoscopic Company purchased his negatives and used them to illustrate the present volume. Produced during a period of increasing public and commercial interest in the potential of new photographic processes, it represents a pioneering, inventive attempt to utilise photography in the creation of an artistic literary work. A wonderful copy in superb state of preservation.