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Paradise lost A poem in twelve books
London: Pr. by Miles Flesher for Jacob Tonson Folio (38.3 cm, 15"). [4], 343, [7] pp.; 12 plts. (lacking frontis.).. 1688 The fourth edition, adorn'd with sculptures" — that is to say,the => first illustrated appearance of Paradise Lost, as well as what Hodnett calls "the earliest serious effort to illustrate an important work of English poetry" — and the first folio edition to boot — Pforzheimer noting that this is additionally the first publication of => Dryden's lines on Milton. The => 12 dramatic copper-engraved plates, tipped in, were mostly done by Michael Burghers (or Burgess, as given here) after Sir John Baptist Medina (and apparently by at least one other, unidentified artist), with at least one done by Peter Paul Bouche after Bernard Lens. Most plates are interesting as splendidly "typical" of the period, but one, in particular, is => almost stunningly modern in spirit. Opposite the start of the first book, this shows Lucifer darkly arule in Pandemonia, and it has been widely influential indeed, there having been for example an illustration "after" it as early as 1705 in Paraguay! This is one of three variant imprints of this edition, with the publication information varying based on which publisher was selling the subscription; the grape cluster watermark is visible, and the subscribers list is present at the back of the volume. The present example is definitely a "tall" copy, though Pforzheimer wonders about this observation, saying that "copies are sometimes listed as Large Paper but from the fact that the List of Subscribers makes no such distinction this is evidently a cataloguer's fiction. Contemporary mottled calf, rebacked with mottled calf with gilt-stamped leather title and subject labels, raised bands ruled in gilt; original leather acid-pitted with joints and extremities rubbed, page edges attractively speckled in red and brown. Frontispiece (author portrait) lacking; title-page with edges darkened from binding and with small hole touching frame lines but not text. Pages slightly cockled, one leaf with chip to upper margin; two plates (at p. 61 & p. 149) each with short tear from lower edge, not extending into image; one plate with tear from outer edge extending about halfway into image, cleanly repaired; one plate with light waterstaining to outer margin just barely touching outer edge of image. Occasional faint spots and smudges, scattered light foxing almost entirely confined to margins (including inner), pages mostly clean. The faults that must be noted have substantially reduced the price here; they have NOT, actually, much reduced the usefulness and pure delight of either the production or the copy.
      [Bookseller: Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co]
Last Found On: 2016-03-19           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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