PHILLIPS, Watts. The Queen in Ireland, or Mr. Smither’s unsuccessful attempt to follow in the footsteps of Her Majesty. Designed and etched by Watts Phillips. [London]: D. Bogue, [1849?]. 16mo. An accordion fold out book with nine double sided panels with cartoon images of Mr. Smither, captioned on lower margin. Pictorial covers, bound in full brown morocco, title in gilt on spine, covers with gilt floral fleurons; gilt doublures; floral patterened endpapers. A very good copy of an extremely rare item.
No copy located on COPAC. WorldCat 1.
Watts Phillips, the second son of Thomas Phillips and his wife, Esther Ann Watts, was born at Robert Street, Hoxton, on 16th November 1825. His father was an upholsterer and timber merchant. A talented artist he was apprenticed to George Cruikshank as a young man. While working with Cruikshank he got to know Douglas Jerrold and Mark Lemon.
Phillips studied art in Paris but the 1848 French Revolution drove him to Brussels. He returned to London in 1849 and for a while worked for the publisher David Bogue. On 7th June 1851 he married Mary Elizabeth Mariner, the daughter of a stockbroker.
Watts Phillips provided cartoons for ‘Punch’ and several other journals using the name “The Ragged Philosopher”. He also wrote The Wild Tribes of London (1855), an account of the London slums. In 1857 his play Joseph Chavigny was accepted by Benjamin Webster. It was produced at the Adelphi in May, with Webster playing the leading role. This was followed by the play, The Poor Strollers .
Charles Dickens accused Phillips of plagiarism, when his play, The Dead Heart, was produced for the first time on 10th November 1859. This was seven months after the first episode of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ had appeared in All the Year Round . It had the same historical setting, much the same story and approximately the same climax.
An extremely rare item, no mention of the present title in the listings of his acknowledged works. The first image caption states: ‘Mr. Smithers upon learning her Majesty’s intention of visiting the “sister isle” determines to follow so excellent an example and if possible join the royal cortége.’