Dombey and Son. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1858
8vo (181 x 118mm.), later edition, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR ("Charles Dickens | wishes he had given this book to | Mr Henry Sudlow | Liverpool | Friday Night, Twentieth August, 1858." on dedication page, frontispiece by H.K. Browne, double column, later purple morocco gilt, spine gilt in compartments, gilt edges, collector's chemise and purple cloth folding box, occasional staining, binding rubbed at extremities
IT IS RARE FOR DICKENS TO SIGN A COPY OF THIS NOVEL. American Book Prices Current records no inscribed copies of this title in any edition sold at auction.
Henry Sudlow (c.1816-1884) was Secretary of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society from 1855 until his death. He was responsible for Dickens' readings in Liverpool in 1858.
The Liverpool Philharmonic Society had been established in 1840 under the leadership of William Sudlow (who was a stockbroker and organist). The first principal conductor of the orchestra was appointed in 1843 and the Society built the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall which opened in 1849. By 1852, however, financial problems were exposed and led to a widening of the Society's productions, including a visit by Dickens' amateur theatrical troupe in September 1852. Three years later it was discovered that William Sudlow, then Honorary Secretary, had been embezzling funds. After Sudlow's resignation the post of paid secretary was created and Henry Sudlow was elected. It appears that Henry was not related to William, but had been a former clerk in William's office.
Dickens appeared at the Philharmonic Hall in 1858 with the following programme: A Christmas Carol (18 August), The Story of Little Dombey (19 August), The Poor Traveller, Boots at the Holly Tree Inn and Mrs Gamp (20 August) and A Christmas Carol (21 August).
The Liverpool Mail reported on 21 August 1858: "Those who have not attended the readings should certainly not omit doing so - for what more pleasant, interesting, and natural way of spending two hours could be devised than hearing the greatest litterateur of the age embodying, with wonderful success, the most brilliant emanations of his matchless genius? We ought not to omit mentioning that the unexceptionable arrangements for the comfort of the audience were due to Mr Sudlow, the Secretary of the Philharmonic Society, and to Mr Arthur Smith, who is Mr Dickens' 'business' man..."
This edition includes Dickens' new preface (dated April 1858). The double column text and single illustration plate suggests this volume formed part of the "cheap" edition - the first systematic reissuance of Dickens' works that began in 1847.
Henry Sudlow, presentation inscription
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