[HANDCOLOURED EARLY JUVENILE]. [Marmaduke Multiply's Merry Method of Making Minor Mathematicians, or the Multiplication Table.] London: John Harris. .
Small 8vo. Contemporary half polished tan calf over marbled boards, flat spine ruled in gilt with onlaid black leather lettering-label lettered gilt and the initials "M.J.B" in one compartment, in gilt; ff. 16 (Part 1st); 17-33 (Part 2d.); 34-49 (Part 3d.); 50-69 [Part 4th], printed on one side of the paper; with a total of 69 fine stipple-engraved plates, as called for, all with neat and attractive original handcolouring; a remarkably good, sound, and attractive copy with rubbing to joints, but no splitting, and abrasions to edges and corners, internally equally pleasing with occasional toning, slight marking, and a weak, and insignificant, corner crease to first three leaves, without printed title-page which was probably discarded in the binding process and which was apparently never present.
Very early issues of the full complement of the four parts of this charming and popular educational classic from the nineteenth century with the publishing dates of the first editions - 1816 (Parts I and II) and 1817 (Parts III and IV) - engraved in the plate and with a watermark of 1818 in each of the four individual works, suggesting that this constitutes the first collected edition. The rhyming captions beneath are both amusing, puzzlingly random, and occasionally mildly subversive and, illuminated by the witty illustrations, make for a very entertaining read. It was reprinted throughout the publishing years of the firm and consolidated its position as one of John Harris's best-known and most popular productions.
John Harris's Books For Youth, 1801-1843, 520 (2), by Moon, describes a copy of the 4 parts bound together, with watermark 1818, also lacking title-page, and without original covers, held at University of California.