1879 A History of Our Own Times, Justin McCarthy. Extra Illustrated. With a signed tipped-in letter from McCarthy.


A complete, 10 volume, extra illustrated edition of Justin McCarthy's A History of Our Own Times, From the Accession of Queen Victoria to the Berlin Congress. Binder's notes say "371 plates inserted, 10 vols., P.L.".

A wonderful Victorian pastime was to add illustrations to works; this set is an excellent example of those efforts with hundreds of added illustrations. Almost all of the illustrations are portraits, in a variety of mediums. There are illustrations (wood & steel engravings), cartoons, photographs, etc.). Many are accompanied with the person's signature; this may have been intended as an autograph hunter's resource. Most are printed signatures, although there is one engraving of George Elliot where I'm suspicious the signature may be real (see pictures); New York Public Library hosts the same engraving without the signature (image ID 483502).

There is a letter from 1888, tipped-in, from Justin McCarthy (the author) and signed by him. It is on the letterhead of 20, Cheyne Gardens, a McCarthy residence.

Note, volume four has water damage to the last leaves and its binding is also tighter and drier than the others.

Physical Attributes -

Each volume measures approx. 22 x 14 x 3 cm. Leather spines and corners with marbled paper covered boards. Spines with four raised bands, some gilt decoration in three compartments, title/author/vol. in gilt in two compartments and "Extra Illustrated" at bottom of spine. Top edge gilt. Two-color endbands. Ten volumes, complete (all with date of 1879). Extra illustrated edition.0

Condition -

See pictures. Vintage patina, with the pleasing look of history. Edge, joint and corner wear with some rubbing and marks to the leather/spines. Several volumes just out-of-square. The leather is feeling rather dry and I wouldn't open them to flat, best opened in a v cradle.

Binder and bookseller notes on the blank unpaginated free front endpapers. Some thumbing around volume one's title page and other first leaves. All of the inserted plates have binder's notes on the back of them. The rear blank endpapers also have binder notes. Some toning to paper throughout. Many illustrations have ghosted the facing page. Occasional fox spot (singular). Upper right corner of Volume 4 last 20 leaves/plates has water damage, seems to have almost made volume 4 harder to open/dryer than the others. Page 299 of volume ix has a 1 inch edge tear. Check marks in the glossary pages, corresponding with plates.

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