New York: Appleton and Company, 1884. Twelfth edition. 8vo. Frontispiece engraved by Bobbett-Hooper, 274 pp. +  pp. advertisements. Original publisher's brown cloth, gilt, decorated endpapers. Cloth covers with some minor blemishes, lower corner of back cover inexplicably abraided. Overall in excellent condition, the gilding glowingly bright, without any cracks to the inner hinges or inscriptions or markings of any kind. NOT ex-library! Very good. Item #3276
"Phoenixiana" is one of the earliest collections of California humor. However, to be perfectly honest, we don't really care much about the contents: we know that humor ages very badly, whereas tragedy transcends the ages. Physically, the present volume has not aged badly at all. We are naturally attracted to it for the following (admittedly shallow) reasons:
1). the condition is really quite good; 2). the weird demonic figure on the frontispiece reappears on the front cover, and the spine features an elaborate design of a demon dipping a quilled pen into an anthropomorphic ink-well, which we absolutely ADORE.
We cannot identify the artist with certainty. The frontispiece is signed "Bobbett-Hooper," who were extremely prolific engravers and color printeres in New York City and Brooklyn during the second half of the 19th century. Alfred ("Albert") Bobbett was born in London in 1824 and died at his NYC work desk in 1888. His partner Edward Hooper (1829-1870) predeceased him, but the firm continued (and prospered) as Bobbett-Hooper.