Omnibus Illustrated by George Cruikshank (Kelliegram Binding) with Signed Cruikshank Letter
London: Tilt and Bogue, 1842. Copiously illustrated by George Cruikshank. KELLIEGRAM BINDING with signed Cruikshank letter. Engraved cover of September 1841, issue bound in as a frontispiece, First Edition. 8vo. 300 pp. 8vo. In 1841, Cruikshank became increasingly disenchanted with the publisher, Bentley, while working with Harrison Ainsworth illustrating his novels. Despite financial woes and the illness of his wife, Cruikshank separated from Bentley and became attached to secondary publishers like Tilt and Bogue. In May, 1841, he started Omnibus as his personal outlet. Laman Blanchard was the editor and Ainsworth the subeditor. Other authors include Merle, Marryat, Thackeray and "Bowman Tiller." It had the characteristic comic cover of the rear of a crowded omnibus pulling away. George drew the image and it was engraved by his nephew Percy Cruikshank, although George was angry with him for calling himself "Cruikshank the Younger. "The contents are articles in a comic vein including a serialized novel and the miscellany entitled "Omnibus Chat." Kelliegram bindings were one of many innovations of the English commercial binding firm of Kelly & Sons. The Kelly family had one of the longest connections in the history of the binding trade in London, having been founded in 1770 by John Kellie, as the name was then spelled. The binding firm was carried on by successive members of the family into the 1930s. William Henry Kelly significantly developed the company in the first half of the nineteenth century, followed by William Henry, Jr., Henry, and Hubert Kelly, who took control in 1892, taking the firm into the twentieth century? The development [during the 1880s] that came to be known as Kelliegram was one of the bindery's most notable, and the popularity continues today as demonstrated by the prices Kelliegram bindings command at auction and in the rare book trade" (Dooley, Kelliegram Bindings, Brynmawr Library). George Cruikshank was and remains the most celebrated caricaturist and book illustrator of the 19th century.
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