London: Chapman and Hall, 1849. First edition, one of a number of Christmas “gift” books by Thackeray (using the Titmarsh pseudonym) and published by Chapman and Hall, which also included Mrs. Perkins’s Ball (1847) and Our Street (1848). Printed title-page with hand-colored engraving, chromolithographic title-page, fifteen color plates, including frontispiece, and fifteen black-and-white plates. Spine and upper edges of boards toned, light offsetting from plates. A few plates very slightly foxed. A very good, tight copy. In a slightly worn green-cloth covered slipcase. Contemporary full green morocco ruled and elaborately tooled in gilt, gilt spine in six compartments. Gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt. Red silk doublures. Original pink wrappers illustrated and lettered in blue bound in at rear. Small quarto. , 49, [1, colophon], [1, ads] pp. Item #16477
During his lifetime, William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) published 386 magazine articles and three books under several pseudonyms, including Major Gahagan, Charles James Yellowplush, and Michael Angelo (M.A.) Titmarsh. Using the M.A. Titmarsh name, he authored Christmas “gift” books for Chapman and Hall. These works, small in size and illustrated, were called “gift books” and meant to be given as presents. Doctor Birch and His Young Friends tells the story of schoolmaster Dr. Birch, his family, his associates and students, including the “priggish” Jack Birch, Anny Raby, and George and Patrick Champion.