SMITH, Albert Sketches of London Life Dean & Son, London, [n.d]
8vo. Original illustrated boards printed in yellow, black and red, endpapers in blue and printed with ads; pp. [x]. 188; covers with some fading, chipping to spine and general wear (as usual for the type and period).
Sketches of London Life is a series of vignettes (including some rather pointed illustrations) depicting the kinds of ne'er-do-wells one might encounter on a traipze through the city, from beggars to acrobats to thieves and many more. A little judgmental? Yes. But it is traditional, after all.
Yellowback Fiction is the name often used for popular books published in Britain in the late 19th century. Developed as entertaining reading for the less than discerning dilettante, their illustrated covers and bright hues were intended to meet rising demand for throwaway impulse purchase books — alas, they were not built to survive, and surviving examples with anything resembling intact covers are scarce rare.