Master Humphrey’s Clock
Dickens, Charles. Master Humphrey’s Clock
London: Chapman and Hall, 1840 (Volume 1) and 1841 (Volumes 2 & 3). Hardback quarto; three volumes; first edition in book form. 306 pp in each of volumes 1 & 2; 426 pp in volume 3. First published in 88 weekly parts; purchasers could choose from a number of variant bindings. This variant is ribbed maroon cloth with plain white endpapers, marbled edges, and elaborately embossed boards and spine; gilt clocks to front boards and gilt decoration and title to spine. Illustrated throughout with engravings by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne (“Phiz”). Condition: Very Good; extremities of all volumes sunned, bumped, and rubbed; significant bumping and rubbing to head and tail of spines; ½-inch split to lower front hinge of volume 3; volume 3 also split between pp 2 & 3, but intact; slight cocking to spines of volumes 1 & 2; previous owner’s name and date of 1841 to front pastedown of all three volumes; additional gift inscription from 1980 to front pastedown of volume 1. $750
A weekly serial that ran from April 1840 to December 1841, Master Humphrey’s Clock included the novels The Old Curiosity Shop and Dombey and Son, framed by short stories. (Both novels were later published separately.) This edition marks the serial’s first appearance as a book. Very unusually, the gilt clocks on the three covers all point to the same time; the more standard variant had the time on each clock matching the volume number.