London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1874.
Octavo, three volumes, xviii, 424; x, 384; and x, 432 pages.
Contemporary half calf and marbled papered boards, the spines gilt-decorated in compartments with a contrasting leather title-label; all edges and endpapers marbled; leather lightly scuffed and rubbed, with the spines a little tanned (and one a little marked); marbled paper along the edges of the boards worn in a few spots (and a couple of leading edges have slight dings); minimal foxing to leaves adjacent to the covers; slight paper residue on the front flyleaf of the first volume, where a tipped-in bookplate has been removed; overall an excellent set in a handsome binding.
Provenance: A.R. Downer, with his armorial bookplate on an early blank page in the second volume. Sir Alexander 'Alick' Russell Downer (1910-1981), politician and diplomat, was the Minister for Immigration under Menzies from 1958, and the Australian High Commissioner in London from 1963 to 1972. A small newspaper clipping concerning Greville, Reeve and this work is mounted on the verso of the first blank. It states (in part): 'This is the sort of little jibe which was common at the time: "For fifty years he listened at the door | And heard some secrets, and invented more; | These he wrote down, and statesmen, Queens, and Kings | Are all degraded into common things. | Though most have passed away, some still remain | To whom such scandal gives a needless pain; | And though they smile and say ''Tis only Greville' | They wish him, Reeve, and Longman at the devil"'. This set comprises the complete first series; a further five volumes in two series were published, covering the reign of Queen Victoria. [3 items].