London: The Book Society, [ca. 1860-1870]. 16mo, original wrappers imprinted with an advertisement for an exhibition of paintings by J. W. Bain at Tremont Temple in Boston, “accompanied by songs, music, and lecture,” 384 pages. Frontis. Wrappers worn and somewhat soiled, one lower corner torn away; a good, sound copy. Item #17960
A curious promotional giveaway, a cheap London edition of Pilgrim’s Progress with wrappers advertising a Boston exhibition of paintings suggested by the story; the rear wrappers also advertise Bain’s “Life Illustrated,” which had been “Exhibited 400 Times in New York and Brooklyn” (to the approval of both the press and the clergy), touted here as including pictures of a value totaling $25,000. (The suggestion of course to the curiosity seeker that if nothing else the paintings are expensive was no doubt well-calculated to draw an American crowd.) John Wallace Bain had evidently mounted shows of various monumental American paintings that could be viewed to the accompaniment of piano and organ; accounts of the Bain show are sketchy, but this entertainment seems to differ from the popular Kyle and May (or later Kyle and Dallas) panorama version of Pilgrim’s Progress that had been exhibited as early as 1850. Early pencil ownership signature for a woman in Norway, Maine on the verso of the frontispiece.