ALKEN, Henry (1785-1851)
Symptoms of Being Amused
London: Thomas McLean, 1822 [plates watermarked J. Whatman 1824]. Volume 1 (all published), oblong folio. 42 hand coloured engraved plates, including the pictorial title. With the letterpress Symptoms leaf.
Early half green morocco and marbled paper covered boards, spine gilt with raised bands, marbled endpapers
Provenance: Frederic Coleman Hunter (armorial bookplate); Augustine Healy (bookplate); F. P. Williamson (bookplate)
First edition: among the best known of Alken's color plate books.
The work as a whole offers a window onto a certain Regency social milieu: fashionable and middle class sporting England. The humour is aimed at them with the understanding that they will be the most likely purchasers. The interesting 'Symptoms of a Preface' leaf (not mentioned by either Schwerdt or Tooley) is in effect an advertisement for the proposed second volume of the Symptoms. The preface also mentions other similar works that Alken was undertaking, and jokingly offers the book combined with convivial company as a sterling cure for "Dull Care".
Tooley 57; Schwerdt I, p.27.