[CARICATURE] H. B., [pseud. of DOYLE, JOHN]. Political sketches by H. B.
London: Thomas McLean, [1829-1832]. 4 volumes, bound in half dark-blue straight-grain morocco with purple embossed cloth over boards; gilt morocco title labels pasted to upper boards; spines titled in gilt; all edges gilt. 11.25 x 16.5 inches (28.5 x 42 cm); each volume with frontispiece (included in the plate count); window-mounted title page; one leaf with laid-down lists of contents; and lithographed plates as follows: Vol. I: plates 1-36; Vol. 2: 103-173; Vol. 3: 103-173; Vol. IV: 174-234. Some binding wear but a sound set of the first four volumes of John Doyle's caricatures; scattered foxing and toning internally. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's copy, with his bookplate in each volume, and a twelve-line note in his hand in ink on the margin of the mount for the title of the first volume, dated 1930 and initialled, delineating the relationship between John Doyle (H.B.) and the author's family. Bookplate of William Safire.
John Doyle's political caricatures eschew the grotesquery found in his predecessors such as Heath, Gillray and Rowlandson, instead skewering his targets with accurate depictions and witty captions. The association with Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle is apposite; of his grandfather he wrote elsewhere "My father was the youngest son of John Doyle, who under the nom de crayon of "H. B." made a great reputation in London from about 1825 to 1850. He came from Dublin about the year 1815 and may be said to be the father of polite caricature, for in the old days satire took the brutal shape of making the object grotesque in features and figure. Gillray and Rowlandson had no other idea. My grandfather was a gentleman, drawing gentlemen for gentlemen, and the satire lay in the wit of the picture and not in the mis-drawing of faces. This was a new idea, but it has been followed by most caricaturists since and so has become familiar. There were no comic papers in those days, and the weekly cartoon of "H. B." was lithographed and distributed. He exerted, I am told, quite an influence upon politics, and was on terms of intimacy with many of the leading men of the day. I can remember him in his old age, a very handsome and dignified man with features of the strong Anglo-Irish, Duke of Wellington stamp."
C From the Collection of the late William Safire
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