FRANKLIN, Benjamin. Bowles's Moral Pictures, or Poor Richard Illustrated. Engraved broadsheet, illustrated with 24 engraved emblems within oval frames by Robert Dighton, plus a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Folded, mounted in cloth covers with title gilt on front. Manchester: Bancks & Co., n.d. [ca. 1790].
This rare illustrated broadside offers Franklin's Maxims from Poor Richard's Almanack. This sheet is possibly the earliest illustrated compilation of Franklin's aphorisms for sale. The illustrated broadside was produced under the skillful eye of English publisher of prints and maps Carington Bowles. The engravings are of high quality and offer revealing, detailed images of daily rural life in England at the end of the eighteenth century.
Carington Bowles (1724-1793) represented the third generation of a family of printsellers in business since the late 1600s. He worked with his father John Bowles (1701-1779) until 1763 when he took over the firm vacated by his aging uncle, Thomas Bowles (1695-1767), which he lead for thirty years. At his death in 1793, Carington Bowles' business passed to his son under a partnership, Bowles & Carver.
Robert Dighton (1751-1814) was a well-known painter of portraits and caricatures, as well as decorative subjects, who is regarded as one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1770, exhibiting miniature portraits and comic drawings. As an artist, he was first offered consistent employment by the publisher Carington Bowles. Many of his later works were issued anonymously and published by Bowles.
Poor Richard's Almanack appeared yearly from 1732 to 1757 and was a best seller for a pamphlet published in the American colonies; print runs typically ran to 10,000 per year. It is chiefly remembered, quoted and reprinted today for the repository of common sense aphorisms and proverbs sprinkled throughout. This sheet of Bowles's Moral Pictures has been backed on silk, with some professional paper repairs to cracks along folds and to edges. Extremely rare.
Ford, Franklin Bibliography, p. 69, no. 137.
Item nr. 147954