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The English Dance of Death and The Dance of Life.
Royal 8vo (three volumes). Sometime rebound in arts and crafts style full crushed red morocco gilt by W. Root & Son, boards with double gilt-ruled fillet borders enclosing triple rules with crescent cornerpieces containing three gilt entwined flowers, spines gilt in compartments, lettered directly in two and at foot with imprint, others continuing three gilt entwined flowers motif, gilt-ruled board edges, parallel gilt-ruled turn-ins with three gilt entwined flower cornerpieces, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, red silk markers; Death I: pp. vii, [1 (blank)], 295, [1 (colophon)],[4 ('Index to the First Volume)]; Death II: pp. [2 (title-page, verso blank)], 299, [1 (blank)], [4 ('Index to Second Volume)]; Life: [2 (title-page, verso blank)], ii, ii, 285, [1 (blank)], missing 1 Advertisement leaf; Death I: hand-coloured engraved frontispiece retaining tissue guard, additional hand-coloured engraved title-page, 36 hand-coloured engravings retaining tissue guards; Death II: 36 hand-coloured engravings retaining tissue guards; Life: hand-coloured engraved frontispiece, additional hand-coloured engraved title-page, 24 hand-coloured engravings; slight marking to upper board of Death Vol. I and lower board of Death Vol. II, offsetting from turn-ins to endpapers, occasional very slight foxing throughout but nonetheless a clean copy in a handsome binding. First editions. Drawing on the tradition of the Dance of Death - an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death, no matter one's station in life - Rowlandson produced a contemporary version gleefuly skewering popular society. Originally published in parts, these editions were first published after completion and parts of the spine from the original cloth binding are mounted at large in the rear of the two volumes of The Dance of Death. As is not uncommon The Dance of Life is missing a single leaf of Advertisements at the rear, possibly lost at the point of binding. Tooley described the Dance of Death as 'Indispensable to any Rowlandson collection, one of the essential pivots of any colour plate Library, being one of the main works of Rowlandson.' (English Books with Coloured Plates, p. 334). W. Root & Son were known for their fine bindings and also worked on trade bindings and sets. The firm were based in Red Lion Square between 1899-1901, and the December 1942 issue of The Rotarian notes with regret that W. Root had been bombed out of their premises on Paternoster Row. Falk: 219, 220; Tooley 410, 411.
      [Bookseller: Henry Southern Ltd.]
Last Found On: 2012-12-14           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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