The Tunbridge Wells Guide

SPRANGE, Jasper. The Tunbridge Wells Guide.

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SPRANGE, Jasper The Tunbridge Wells Guide Tunbridge Wells, J. Sprange, 1780.

Small 8vo. Full speckled calf, black spine label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers; pp. [4], viii, 68, 178, 14 (anecdotes), [2, blank], 16 (lists), [2, ads]; some wear to binding, a little light foxing throughout, occasional misprint marks, nevertheless a very good copy, small ink inscription to title.
A peculiar book with an idiosyncratic history, the Tunbridge Wells Guide has a reputation for being difficult to collate. Published by the enthusiastic but badly organized Sprange in a flurry of determination, a series of near identical copies with small differences were produced in the same year, a process he repeated for decades until the entire thing became a bibliographic mess of unbelievable proportions, to the point where most booksellers just shrug and say "it's somewhere first edition adjacent" and leave it at that.
The book itself doesn't fail to amuse, as it involves Sprange delving deep into the quirky things he likes (or in most cases, doesn't like) about Tunbridge Wells, throwing dark remarks at local villages and complaining about Gothic Barbarism. Vastly entertaining, particularly if you like 18th century gossip about who was doing what at which boarding house.