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Charles Dickens

The Complete Nonesuch Dickens

Nonesuch Press

1937 - 1938

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Uncommonly complete and exquisitely preserved set of the landmark Nonesuch Press publication, one of the most fully realized and beautifully executed Dickens collections ever produced — this with the original packing material and documents and in rare, likely original dust jackets.

  • Sold as a set of 24.
  • Charles Dickens (English).
  • Designed by Francis Meynell (English).
  • Edited by Arthur Waugh and Hugh Walpole
  • Bloomsbury: Nonesuch Press, 1937-1938.
  • 130; 6; 748; 548; 364; 872; 852; 482; 766; 874; 594; 880; 798; 844; 418; 866; 836; 928; 826; 898; 854; 892; 817; 858; 874 pages.
  • Illustrated in black-and-white throughout.
  • Woodblock and matted print housed in original purple buckram box, also wrapped in blue paper.
  • Letter of authenticity and letter on “Australian Book Co.” letterhead, addressed to Leonard George, laid in.
  • Woodblock box contained in original Nonesuch Press cardboard shipping carton, addressed to “Australian Book Co.” and “Leonard H. George,” noting that this is set no. 152 with plate no. 346.
  • One pamphlet in original pink wrappers, side-stitched.
  • Great Expectations with postmarked envelope addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. L. H. George” loosely laid in.
  • 24 volumes in original buckram bindings in a variety of colors, with black goatskin spine labels and gilt lettering, 22 of which with likely original blue paper dust jackets, one volume in original glassine, top edges gilt, other edges machine deckle.

“[I]t will never be possible for a more complete or more perfect edition than the Nonesuch Dickens to be put on the market.” – Prospectus. “[P]ortable and handy enough even for those who like to read their Dickens in bed; imposing enough for those to whom a shelf of fine books is the most pleasant of pictures”: such were Francis Meynell’s goals when he designed the Nonesuch Dickens. Meynell had a hand in all the aesthetic decisions that make this set an achievement, from the choice of paper (which “delights the paper fancier”) to the typeface (”of conscious ‘beauty’ it is happily free”) to the cloth chosen for the bindings (”a brave array of reds and yellows and blues and browns”). The Nonesuch Dickens includes classic titles such as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickelby, A Tale of Two Cities, and Bleak House, as well as three volumes of Dickens’s letters and two volumes of his collected papers. This set also includes the “even more difficult to lay hands on” Nonesuch Dickensia, which features an essay on the illustrators of Dickens by Arthur Waugh, and a prospectus for the series (Montagu, 132). The edition was “limited, not artificially but of necessity” by the 877 remaining original Dickens woodblocks and plates that were included with the publication; the present set includes the woodblock numbered 346, for “The Old Man and the Robbers” illustration from The Old Curiosity Shop. A remarkable aspect of this set is its uniform blue paper dust jackets. These are very likely the original packing materials for the books: the same blue paper is used as padding for the woodblock box inside the original Nonesuch shipping carton. A rare copy that retains so many ephemeral assets.


Ashley Montagu, “The Nonesuch Press,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 44 no. 2.

Condition Report

Star iconVery Good
Like New

Carton with edgewear and a few small spots of soil.

Dust jackets with sunning to spines, light edgewear; a few with scuffs and additional sunning to fronts and backs.

One book lacking jacket.

Glassine with some chipping to edges, a few shallow creases.

Occasional foxing to fore-edges and leaves.

Bindings remarkably sharp and bright.


Height: 10.25 inches / 26.04 cm
Width: 6.25 inches / 15.88 cm

Pamphlet Height: 10.00 inches/25.40 cm

Pamphlet Width: 6.25 inches/ 15.88 cm

Woodblock Height: 4.00 inches/ 10.16 cm

Woodblock Width: 4.75 inches/ 12.07 cm

Clamshell Height: 10.00 inches/ 25.40 cm

Clamshell Width: 6.50 inches/ 16.51 cm

Cardboard Box Height: 7.50 inches/ 19.05 cm

Cardboard Box Width: 15.25 inches/ 38.74 cm


Dust Jacket




Novels, English literature and history, Fine bindings, Prints and colour plate, Modern first editions

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