The first few pages of this book have become disconnected, but they were once a part of the same quire and sewn into the text block together.
The poem that starts on the second page was quoted in the novel Ought We to Visit Her?, which was made into a play by the same name by Gilbert himself a few years after the novel's serialization in a magazine. It got horrid reviews because the plot was scandalous; a chorus girl who flirts and the supposedly respectable matrons who despise her because of it.
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The illustrations for this text are most likely woodcut, or illustrations carved in relief and backwards so that the carving could be inked and printed like typeface is. Woodcuts can be identified by the imprint they leave on the page, the bleed of the ink, and how crude some of the details must be in order to make the general illustration usable.
W.S. Gilbert's signature, which is Bab, on these illustrations is different every time, meaning that each was carved with the woodcut it appears with and probably drawn first by Gilbert, then turned over and carved by a woodcutter.
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Composing typeface for regular books, rather than books of poetry, paid close attention to the margin space that was given to the manuscript being printed, so that the binder had enough to cut off to make everything even but also that there was enough margin for the book to be correct. Poetry books required deeper margins and therefore more paper, making the book, in most cases, more expensive than a book with as many words in it.
This poetry, especially since the woodcuts would have been printed at the same time as the text, had to be carefully placed so that the indentations were right and the margins for every poem was the same. The same frame for each may have been used, but some variation would have been needed since a few illustrations were larger than the margin of the text.
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