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THE WORKS OF THOMAS GRAY
London: Harding, Triphook, and Lepard, 1825. n. Hardcover. 197 x 114 mm (7 3/4 x 4 1/2"). Two volumes. Extremely appealing contemporary red straight-grain morocco, attractively gilt, by Ingalton of Eton (with their ticket on front pastedown), covers with double fillet border enclosing a triple fillet frame with gilt-tooled leafy cornerpieces, central panel enclosed by single fillet with rounded corners; raised bands, spine compartments gilt with leafy frames, turn-ins with dense gilt roll, all edges gilt. With an engraved frontispiece portrait of Gray. First preliminary leaf to volume I with inked inscription, "George Chester Cooper / Given to him by his friend George Pickering / Eton. March. 1830." Just the vaguest rubbing and abrasions to covers, minor foxing to frontispiece and preliminary leaves, but A PRETTY SET IN VERY FINE CONDITION, clean and fresh internally, and in gleaming bindings with virtually no wear. This pleasant set of Gray's poetry apparently bound by Thomas Ingalton of Eton saw very little use at the hands of the Etonian to whom it was presented or those of subsequent owners, judging by its well-preserved state. Little is known about our binder, Ingalton, who is listed by Ramsden under a variant spelling ("Ingleton" and "Inglaton") and with a variant ticket. The gilt tooling here are quite lovely in its simple elegance, the whole showing very nicely. Thomas Gray (1716-1771) was an English poet, letter-writer, classical scholar, and professor at Cambridge University. It is generally accepted that his only peer in 18th century English poetry is Alexander Pope, although his small body of work belied his gifts, which evidently did not include the social. Samuel Johnson told Boswell that Gray "was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull everywhere. He was dull in a new way." But in regard to Gray's "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" (included here), Johnson proclaimed that it "abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo." It is in that poem that we find the immortal aphorism, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2015-11-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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