SMITH, John Thomas (1766–1833). A Book for a Rainy Day or Recollections of the Events of the Years 1766-1833. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Wilfred Whitten. London: Metheun & Co., 1905.
8vo., (8 2/8 x 5 4/8 inches). Half-title. Frontispiece and 46 plates, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with 53 engraved plates of portraits and views, some laid into heavier stock (title-page creased). Fine 20th-century half blue morocco, gilt, with small red morocco onlays on the spine, all edges gilt (extremities a bit scuffed); preserved in a blue cloth slipcase.First published in 1845. Smith, a "printmaker and draughtsman, was born in a hackney carriage bound for his family home at 7 Great Portland Street, London, on 23 June 1766. His father was the printseller and sculptor Nathaniel Smith (bap. 1738, d. 1809), who, for the first part of his career, was an assistant to the celebrated Joseph Nollekens (1737–1823). Following the death of his mother, Elizabeth, née Tarr, in 1779, Smith entered Nollekens's studio, where he ran errands, prepared clay, and had the fortune to become familiar with many of the leading artists of the day. His experiences in this milieu—as well as Nollekens's character and particular fondness for the young Smith—are all vividly recorded in his anecdotal biography Nollekens and his Times (1828), which is one of the most informative accounts of the London art world at the end of the eighteenth century...Smith's most successful books, A Book for a Rainy Day (1845), The Cries of London (1839), and Antiquarian Rambles in the Streets of London (1846), were all edited and published after his death. And, while they did not ease his immediate financial difficulties, they secured his reputation as a gifted raconteur and chronicler of the more curious gossip and characters of contemporary London life. Catalogued by Kate Hunter