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WEST INDIAN ILLUSTRATIONS OF SHAKESPEARE.
Georgetown, Demerara: James Thomson, [ca. 1885]. Titlepage and contents leaf, followed by fifty half-tone plates. Oblong quarto. Original half diced morocco and printed paper boards, expertly rebacked with matching diced morocco backstrip. Boards soiled, rubbed and scraped, corners and edges worn. Free endpapers mended, rear endpaper torn at edges. Titlepage tanned, else quite clean internally. About very good overall. Item #WRCAM57693
A scarce work of illustrations of Black life in Demerara, a region of Guyana. The illustrations depict humorous scenes in the daily life of the Black population, each based on a quotation from Shakespeare. Included are scenes of courtship, cricket, fighting, cooking, bathing, dressing, shaving, fishing, and much more. While the illustrations are designed for broad comic effect, the overall result is still an interesting depiction of life in British Guiana, with men and women dressed in fine garb and everyday clothes, portrayed in scenarios both demeaning and dignified. One illustration depicts a bride and groom on their wedding day, while another shows a man suffering the consequences of a domestic argument. Others show people banking, at the pharmacist, going to the dentist, snacking on sugar cane, and engaged in any number of everyday occupations. The illustrations appear to be half tones of original charcoal drawings, and were printed in the office of THE ARGOSY, one of British Guiana's chief newspapers from 1880-1907. OCLC records thirteen copies worldwide, with nine in the United States. This is only the second copy we have handled. OCLC 27479672.