London: Printed for Jones & Co. 1821 & 1822. First edition, second issue. Hardcover. 2 volumes, later full navy-blue morocco by Riviere & Son, spines gilt, gilt borders on boards, gilt inner dentelles, top edges gilt, others untrimmed. Vol. I: x, (3)-656 pp., engraved title page and aquatint frontispiece, 18 aquatint plates; Vol. II: 1fl, (i)-ix, 1fl, (3)-668 pp., engraved title page and aquatint frontispiece, 12 aquatint plates. All illustrations with contemporary handcoloring. 1 extra plate in each volume that is not included in the list of plates. Mild surfaces scuffing to spines and rubbing to corners of both volumes, preliminaries and first couple pages of text in first volume moderately grubby, else text and plates quite clean; second volume with mends to corner tips of title page and first few pages, occasional mends elsewhere, some leaves darkened, overall a very good set. Very good. Item #20120
As noted in Tooley, this is a bibliographically complex publication ". . . full of contrarities and difficulties for the bibliographer . . ." This set with Tooley's second issue points (correct imprints, printer's slugs, and title page dates, with identified variations in plate captions for a couple plates in both volumes). Additionally, Volume II here has frontispiece dated 1824 - apparently supplied from that printing, and an added leaf placed after ix (Contents & Directions to the Binder, verso blank) advertising "Real Life in Ireland", with announcement headed "A Word to the Wise" on recto and facsimile title page of the 1822 3rd edition of the title on verso. Regarding the extra plates ("St. George's Day, Presentation at the Levee" and "Tom and Bob Catching a Charley Napping") Tooley says "I have seen them in all issues." Tooley 198. Not a parody of Egan's "Life in London" but an inspired imitation by an author who yet remains unknown. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature says: "Out of the sixty-five imitations of (Life in London) which Egan stated that he had reckoned, the most important was Real Life in London, ..., which was published in sixpenny numbers in 1821, with excellent illustrations by Heath, Alken, Dighton, Rowlandson and others. Real Life in London is a pleasanter book than its prototype. Some have held that Egan wrote it; but the author had a purer style, a cleaner mind and a wider knowledge of London than Egan. The book shows many more sides of London life than his . . ."