First edition in book form, first printing. Three volumes. Association copy. Publisher's original drab paper boards with white paper labels printed in black to the spine. Untrimmed. Double sided list of the author's previous novels and magazine contributions to the rear of volume two. A very good set, the bindings uniformly rubbed and worn to the extremities remain square and firm and without repair or restoration. The original paper labels darkened and nicked at the edges. The contents with the Donnington Priory bookplate of the author's good friend John Hughes to the front pastedown of each volume, and a subsequent owner's bookplate to the front endpaper of volume one only, are spotted to the prelims and rear endpapers, but otherwise clean throughout.
A rare example in the publisher's original boards of the first edition of Ainsworth's occult novel. Originally serialised in The Sunday Times in 1848, the first edition in book form, issued the following year by Henry Colburn in both cloth and paper covered boards, is the only one of the author's books to remain continuously in print from the day of publication. The novel, based on the true story of the Pendle Witches is rated by the bibliographer and scholar of science and fantasy fiction Everett Blieler "one of the major English novels about witchcraft". A notable association copy; formally in the ownership, presumably from new, of Ainsworth's good friend and fellow author John Hughes (father of Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown's School Days). Ainsworth would later dedicate his 1872 novel Boscobel, or the Royal Oak "to the memory of my old friend John Hughes of Donnington House". (Bleiler).
Stock code: 16891