The Stream of Pleasure: Being a Month on the Thames
Joseph & Elizabeth Robins Pennell
T Fisher Unwin, 1891.
Hardback; 180 x 215 mm; grey boards with black titles on spine and front cover with publisher’s device, and a broad, light blue vertical band on front cover; 160 pages plus unpaginated leaf advertising steamer trips on the Thames, etc; many illustrations, frontispiece with tissue guard. Other illustrations may have had tissue guards but only those at pages 23 and 152 remain. No dust jacket.
The book is in fair condition. The covers are grubby with bumping to the corners and both ends of the spine. A small area at the bottom of the spine has worn away. The binding is generally sound but the book is cocked. The edges of the leaves are tanned, visible when the book is closed. There is the beginning of a slight crack along the gutter between the front paste-down and free endpapers. The illustration, page 27/28, is loose but still attached. There is cracking along the gutter at pages 36/37, 72/73, and 126/127. The endpapers are tanned. The front paste-down endpaper has a label: “Ex Libris Gerald Levenson”, with a pencil “B”. The recto of the front free endpaper is impressed: “W H SMITH & SON LONDON”. There is a stain affecting the bottom internal corners of the leaves with foxing and the odd small chip here and there. There is a small pencil annotation on the back paste-down endpaper.
The book is a beautifully illustrated narrative of a journey on the Thames from Oxford to London at the end of the 19th Century at a very leisurely pace. Profuse Pennell sketches, and Mrs. Pennell writes of the locks, the lodging, etc. It is almost contemporaneous with Three Men in a Boat published in 1889, a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and back to Kingston.