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THE PLEASURES OF HOPE
Glasgow: At the University Press, Printed by J. Mundell, 1800. Fourth Edition n. Hardcover. 168 x 98 mm (6 5/8 x 3 7/8"). 4 p.l., 136 pp. Fourth Edition. VERY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORANEOUS ETRUSCAN-STYLE CALF featuring blind, gilt, and acid-treated decorations, very possibly by Edwards of Halifax, covers with gilt Greek key border, palmette frame, and central panel containing a lyre from which thickening radiations emanate, smooth spine divided into panels by multiple gilt rules, each panel with blind-stamped lyre centerpiece enclosed by gilt flourishes, gilt dots on turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With four engraved plates of scenes from the poem. Rear joint with thin half-inch crack at bottom, extremities slightly rubbed, offsetting from engravings, leaves a shade less than bright, flyleaves faintly spotted, other trivial imperfections, but still an attractive copy, the text with no serious condition issues, and the very pretty unsophisticated binding remarkably well preserved. This is a pleasing Etruscan calf binding in the manner of Edwards of Halifax, covering a popular collection of poetry originally published in 1799. "The Pleasures of Hope," the longest piece in this anthology, was the first and most important publication of the Scottish man of letters Thomas Campbell (1777-1844). A traditional 18th-century appraisal of human affairs composed in heroic couplets, it was an enormously successful poem, going through four editions within a year. As with other examples of Etruscan-style bindings (including those executed by Edwards of Halifax, for whom this design was a specialty), the present example has a large central panel that has been formed, along with the designs in the border enclosing it, by acid staining, apparently through a template. The design has enjoyed an enduring popularity among connoisseurs of late 18th and early 19th century bindings. The Edwards of Halifax bindery was founded by William Edwards (1723-1808) and continued by several of his brothers, half-brothers, and sons. Thomas H. Horne, in his 1814 "Introduction to the Study of Bibliography," rightly gives credit to the Edwards firm for creating, amongst other innovations, a unique manner, as seen here, of imitating in calf (through the use of stencils and chemicals) the borders of Etruscan vases. Such bindings are not staggeringly rare, but examples as pleasing as the present one are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2015-12-12           Check availability:      Biblio    

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