The Cricket on the Hearth. A Fairy Tale of Home. London: Bradbury and Evans for the author, 1846 
8vo (166 x 103mm.), first edition, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR AT THE TIME OF PUBLICATION TO HIS FRIEND COUNT D'ORSAY ("Count d'Orsay | from his Friend | Charles Dickens | Christmas 1845"), 14 illustrations by Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise and Landseer, advertisement leaf for Oliver Twist at the end (second state), original deep red horizontally-ribbed cloth, covers decorated in blind, upper cover pictorially gilt with fireplace design, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, pale yellow-coated endpapers, all edges gilt, preserved in matching red morocco slipcase with folding flap, AN UNUSUALLY FINE COPY
A SUPERB PRESENTATION COPY OF ONE OF THE AUTHOR'S CHRISTMAS BOOKS INSCRIBED TO ONE OF HIS MOST INTIMATE FRIENDS, THE ARTIST, DANDY AND MAN OF LETTERS COUNT D'ORSAY (see also note to lot 127)
The handsome and extravagant Frenchman Alfred Guillaume Gabriel, Count D'Orsay (1801-1852), an accomplished portrait artist (Dickens sat for him at least once) as well as a compulsive gambler, was one of the most fashionable men of Victorian London, who, together with his mistress Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, maintained one of the most desirable salons of the period, gathering together literary and other luminaries including Disraeli, Bulwer Lytoon and Walter Savage Landor. Dickens was introduced to them in May 1836 through an invitation via Serjeant Talfourd (see lot 74). D'Orsay became one of his closest and most intimate friends. When the novelist's sixth child Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson was born in 1845 he became (together with Lord Alfred Tennyson) the child's joint godfather and namesake. D'Orsay By 1849 D'Orsay could no longer avoid his creditors and fled to France, where he died in 1852. Despite the Count's unsustainable extravagance and inability to repay his debts (or perhaps partly because of it) Dickens was highly attracted to D'Orsay's colourful personality and confided in him. A number of commentators have seen D'Orsay as the part-inspiration of a number of characters in the novelist's fiction.
The Cricket on the Hearth was published on 20 December 1845. It sold out before the new year and no fewer than 17 subsequent dramatizations of the story were staged.
Le Comte Alfred D'Orsay, contemporary presentation inscription from the author, armorial bookplate; J.E.S. Sawyer; sold to: Comte Alain de Suzannet on 23 July 1936 for £400 (purchase recorded in autograph marginal addition to p.40 of Suzannet's annotated copy of his 1934 Lausanne catalogue of his collection held in Sotheby's reference library), bookplate, the sale of his collection at Sotheby's London, 22 November 1971, lot 85; Kenyon Starling, bookplate; The William E. Self Family Collection Part I, Christie's New York, 2 April 2008, lot 109
Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.
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