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Bibliotheca Westiana: A Catalogue of the - (AUCTION CATALOGUE: WEST, James) - 1773. [1271511]
…digested by Samuel Paterson. Which…will be sold by Auction, by Mess. Langford…on Monday, the 29th of March 1773, and the Twenty-three following Days… viii, 239 (i.e. 235) pp. 8vo, cont. French red morocco, triple gilt fillet round sides, flat spine richly gilt, a.e.g. [London]: 1773. The second of the auction catalogues prepared for the sale of the library of James West. This is a splendid copy bound in contemporary French red morocco and entirely ruled in red (including the title-page) with prices in a contemporary hand. This copy belonged to the famous book collector Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), who has characteristically recorded on the free front flyleaf the price, date and place of purchase as well as signed it. West (1704-73), treasurer of the Inner Temple and President of the Royal Society, formed a collection of printed books "exceedingly rich in early English ones. It contained no fewer than thirty-four Caxtons, and a large number of works from the presses of Lettou, Machlinia, the anonymous 'Scole mayster' of St. Albans, Wynkyn de Worde, Pynson, and the rest of the old English typographers, many of which were unique copies. His manuscripts were exceptionally interesting and valuable."-Fletcher, English Book Collectors, p. 205-(& see pp. 203-07). His library was also strong in scientific, historical, and philosophical works as well as books dealing with law and crime. West bought at all the great sales and dispersals in England for nearly fifty years, including those of Rawlinson, Harley, and Folkes. West also formed large collections of prints, drawings, paintings, medals and coins, and an important natural history cabinet. Upon his death, the collections were consigned to a general auctioneer, Messrs. Langford, who were a stone's-throw from West's house and experienced in selling anything and everything. Langford's prepared a catalogue of the library but suppressed it within a week due to its inferior and chaotic cataloguing and modest appearance. Samuel Paterson, the great auctioneer and cataloguer, was called in to produce a fresh catalogue, under the auspices of Messrs. Langford, intended to be more worthy of the library's fame. Paterson's catalogue - the present one - merged all the books. The number of lots was increased from 3796 to 4653 and the cataloguing was far superior (the compiler of the first catalogue disliked titles in German and had only a slight knowledge of the older books). The sale, with Paterson officiating, brought nearly 3000 pounds which was a very great event for the time. All the great English collectors of the period were buyers including Bindley, Wodhull, Dr. Askew, Dr. Hunter, George Mason, Thomas Crofts, and C.M. Cracherode. A very fine copy. ? De Ricci, pp. 51-53, 55-57, 66, & 72. R. Charles Lucas, "Book-Collecting in the Eighteenth Century: The Library of James West" in The Library, 5th Series, Vol. 3 (1949), pp. 265-78.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2016-11-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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