From the wording of the inscription at the front of this handsome little volume, it would have been given as a wedding present to a young couple in 1948. The book, a collection of myths, legends and fairy tales, is now considered a classic, and was written under a pseudonym by a clergyman named Richard Barham. Perhaps the best-known of the tales is the 'Jackdaw of Rheims', which was published separately, perhaps as a children's book, with many illustrations.
Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845) was born in Canterbury, educated at Oxford, and ordained in 1813. His published literary career began in 1826, and in 1837 he began contributing the tales now included in the Ingoldsby Legends to a new magazine, Bentley's Miscellany. As they proved very popular, they were published in 3 volumes between 1840 and 1847, the Legends have remained in print to this day. Although sharing his surname with the village of Barham, near Canterbury, the author was in fact the owner of the Tappington estate, near Denton, another local village.
Our book is in generally good condition, handsomely bound in streaked blue cloth with half-leather in dark blue, with gilt lines and 5 raised bands with gilt-framed panels, title, and motifs, on the spine. A tiny white mark on the front cover (?Tippex) and some slight markings on the back, are the only blemishes externally. There is some rubbing of all four corners and at the top of the spine. Page tops gilded. Marbled endpapers. Frontispiece portrait of the author is protected by a tissue guard, and there are 25 other illustrations by Cruickshank, Leech and others. The lack of a silk page marker is slightly surprising, and one wonders if one were originally present. The ink-written inscription has left some tiny blue marks on the reverse of the front free (marbled) endpaper. A very nice copy of this classic text.