The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor
The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor

London: Printed for Samuel Tipper. 1808-1809.

Four volumes. First edition. Complete and continuous monthly from the first issue of October 1807 to June 1809 (twenty one issues). 8vo in 4s. 205x128mm. pp. Vol. 1. [2], 562, 5 coloured folding cartoons; Vol. 2. [4], 556, three coloured and two sepia folding cartoons ; Vol. 3. [4], 556, five coloured folding cartoons; Vol. 4. [2], 630, six folding coloured cartoons. All the twenty one cartoons are laid down on linen. Bound in red morocco, double filet border in gilt upper and lower covers, rebacked with original spine laid down. Spines with five raised bands, compartments decorated with double filet borders inside which is a single dotted border with volutes at the corners. Second and third compartments lettered in gilt. Turn-ins are elaborately decorated in gilt. Top edge gilt. A handsome binding with some very light shelfwear but overall in excellent condition. Internally fine with light foxing and staining in places. The cartoons (bound in between each issue) are especially good, in superb condition and beautifully coloured, save for the two in sepia. It is rare to find so many of the cartoons in colour. It is generally accepted that the cartoons for the first seven issues were coloured but, because of the unreliability of the artists who did the colouring, they were then discontinued and sepia-toned illustrations used after that. Here, the first eight are coloured, there are then two in sepia and then, unusually, the remaining cartoons are all hand coloured. These later ones in volumes 3 and 4 are rather more darkly coloured than the earlier ones suggesting that they were all done together and somewhat later.

George Manners started The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor in October 1807 after becoming rather bored with life studying for the Bar. Manners described his paper as, “devoted to the purposes of exposing and castigating every species of literary and moral turpitude”. Like much of the best satire it was Conservative in its politics, if not conservative in its tone and manner. It mixed gossip, arts reviews and politics. It eviscerated reform minded politicians (among many other public figures) whom, Manners thought, were destroying the fabric of the nation. Manners strayed over the line on several occasions, even being imprisoned for libel. But he had Tory friends in high places and was eventually called to the Bar, sold The Satirist (which, in the absence of Manners’s scabrous wit and savage pen, promptly went bust and closed), practised law successfully and, in 1819, became the British Consul in Boston. Manners enjoyed making enemies and, presumably, had a thick skin. An early criticism of The Satirist described the first three issues as as “so void of taste, and real wit and so very illiberal in their abuse”.