A SUPERB SET IN FINE BINDINGS
HEATH’S PICTURESQUE ANNUALS
RITCHIE, Leitch. Ireland Picturesque and Romantic. With twenty hand-coloured engravings and engraved half title from drawings by D. McClise and T. Creswick. Two volumes. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, et al. First edition, 1837/1838. Large octavo. pp. (1) vi, , 264, 20 (2) vi, , 264, 19. Contemporary full polished green calf, covers framed by double gilt fillets. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt on brown morocco labels in the second and third, the remainder tooled in gilt to a centre-and-corner design with a trefoil of Shamrocks in centre; board edges and turn-ins gilt; splash marbled endpapers; red, blue and gold endbands. All edges gilt. Minor rubbing to top of spine. A fine set.
Leitch Ritchie (1800-1865) was a Scottish novelist and journalist. He was born at Greenock and worked as a clerk in Glasgow, but about 1820 adopted literature as his profession. Ritchie wrote four novels, of which the most successful was Wearyfoot Common and short stories, including one of the first British werewolf stories The Man-Wolf.
He was engaged by Charles Heath to write two series of books of travels, to appear under the titles of Turner’s Annual Tour, 1833-5, and Heath’s Picturesque Annual, 1832-45. In connection with this commission he visited many places abroad, the result being twelve illustrated volumes to which he supplied the letterpress. The latter part of his life was spent in Scotland editing Chambers’ Journal.
Ritchie gives us very apt descriptions of the scenery that compliments the very fine illustrations. These volumes were issued as Heath’s Picturesque Annual for 1837 and 1838. With numerous anecdotes, with three pages on Irish skulls, a lengthy description of the Bog of Allen, references to Bianconi, and comments on Inglis, Barrow and Weld’s tours. There is much attention given to the condition of the peasantry and social matters generally.