The partnership of William Bradbury and Frederick Mullett Evans was well known. The ODNB articles on William Bradbury and Frederick Mullett Evans give plenty of detail about their life and business activities, their ownership of the magazine Punch, and their relationship with Charles Dickens.
The aim of this blog is to give further details about the books (normally publisher/ edition bindings) that Bradbury, Evans published and printed in the mid-Victorian period. Images for the books cited in this blog are available at a Pinterest board on Bradbury and Evans . My research has been to provide descriptions of the decorative covers of many Victorian books. An incidental benefit if this work is the recording the publishers of books with decorated covers (publishers bindings). This means that you, the searcher, can assemble a list of books by any publisher (or printer) of many UK nineteenth century books, if you go and search in the British Library Database of Bookbindings; or to British Museum Collections search.
One of the interesting features is the relationship between Bradbury and John Leighton. By the mid-1850s, Leighton was greatly in demand to make designs for book covers. Leighton created hundreds of these, and Bradbury had a share of his work when they published or printed books with his cover designs. It is most likely that Leighton and Bradbury knew each other quite well. The purchase of Punch by Bradbury and Evans secured them the company of writers and artists, from who they commissioned work. Douglas Jerrold wrote Mrs Caudle’s Curtain lectures in serialised form, with illustrations by Charles Keene, subsequently made into a book. An 1856 copy if this work has paper covers, with a cover design by John Leighton. The 1866 publication was issued in cloth, and also in deluxe leather, both with the same design by Leighton. Bradbury, Evans also published Jerrold’s Story of a Feather in 1867 - cover design by Leighton.
As founding Editor of Punch, Mark Lemon was the author of books published/ printed by Bradbury. The legends of Number Nip, and the Jest Book were both published by Macmillan in 1864, printed by Bradbury, Evans. They also printed Tennyson’s Enoch Arden, published by Edward Moxon in 1866. Issued at a price of one guinea, this book has a cover design by Arthur Hughes. There are two copies in the British Library, one with green pebble-grain cloth; the other copy has blue sand-grain cloth. The British Museum de Beaumont collection has two copies: one copy has brown honeycomb-grain cloth. The other copy has the same cover design blocked as the other three copies, but has no text, with twenty five illustrations pasted onto backing sheets. This is possibly a specimen book.
Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market was first published in 1862 by Macmillan, and printed by Bradbury & Evans. It has become well known for the title page and frontispiece illustrations, which are the work of her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This edition is rare in its original covers. The second edition of 1865 was bound by Burn, and has the same ‘geometrical’ design as for the first edition.
Two books with texts by Sir William Howard Russell were published by Day & Son, lithographers, and printed by Bradbury and Evans. Both have illustrations after Robert Dudley, who also created the cover designs. A Memorial of the Marriage of H.R.H. Albert Edward Prince of Wales and H.R.H. Alexandra Princess of Denmark was published in 1864, with an elaborate armorial of the royal arms and the Prince of Wales’s emblems on its upper cover. The royal connection was kept for the publication of The Atlantic Telegraph. Illustrated by Robert Dudley. Dedicated by Special Permission to His Royal Highness Albert Edward Prince of Wales. This commemorated the laying of the first undersea cable across the Atlantic. The cover design is probably by Dudley, as he provided all the illustrations for the lithographs in the book. It is perhaps unique in showing in the centre of the upper cover a cross-section of the core of the cable laid on the floor of the Atlantic.
In 1856, Bradbury and Evans published Henry Bradbury’s short text: On the security and manufacture of bank notes. A lecture delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Albemarle Street, Friday evening, May 9, 1856. The illustrations of the three banknotes are after John Leighton. In 1869, the Royal Institution published Leighton’s short lecture: To The Royal Academy of Arts Upon the Condition and Future of its Library. Pasted on the front of the plain paper wrapper is a small bookplate which offers the origin of Leighton’s pseudonym, Luke Limner, derived from the patron saint of artists, St. Luke.
Leighton was involved in creating expensive books, such as Richard Pigot’s Life of Man, published by Longman in 1866, printed by Bradbury, Evans. Leighton provided the full page illustrations for each on the months, superintended the other illustrators, and had his brother, Henry Leighton cut many of illustrations onto woodblocks. John Leighton also provided a sumptuous cover design for the work.
Perhaps the oddest work published and printed by Bradbury, Evans was John Leigbhton’s short text of 1870, using his pseudonym Luke Limner: Madre Natura versus The Moloch of Fashion. A Social Essay. A diatribe against the evils of corsetry, Leighton deployed his knowledge of heraldry to provide a pastiche of ‘The Mantua Makers Arms’, printed on the title page, with the arms being described on the title page verso, in the form of an inverted triangle:
"/ On a shield sable , a Corset proper; crest, upon a wreath of roses,/ an Hour-glass or, typical of golden hours wasted. Supporters,/ Harpies: the dexter "Fashion" crowned with a chig/ -non or, corsetted and crinoletted proper, her train/ being decorated with bows, and the wings with/ scissors; the sinister, "Vanity", crowned/ with a coronet of pearls and straw/ -berry leaves, bears the wings of a papillon, eyed proper, the/ queue a[grave] la Paon. Motto,/ "FASHION UNTO DEATH/".
The arms shows the claw of each of the Harpies pulling tight the laces of a corset.
This work must have had some success, for the fourth edition was published by Chatto & Windus in 1874. This has the Mantua Makers Arms, blocked onto the upper cover (and printed on the title page), with the laces of corsets blocked in black on the borders of the cover.
It is likely that the relationship between John Leighton and Bradbury, Evans lasted for some twenty years, and the collaboration proved fruitful for both of them