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A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Origin and Development of Arms and Armour. To which are Appended 133 Plates Specially Drawn from the Author's Collection at Oaklands, St. Peter's, Thanet, and Burleigh House, London. [Armor].
London, Sampson Low, Marston & Company 1894 - Large, thick folio, 37 x 29cm. Two parts in one volume. I. Pp. 120, with 130 illustrations to text. II. 133 plates printed on recto only, with a total of 1,000 original engravings, preceded by a second, engraved title-page. Each plate accompanied by a leaf of text, printed on recto only. First plate is tinted. Elaborate pictorial initials and head- and tail-pieces. Printed in red and black throughout. Hardcover, bound in the original three-quarter calf and matching pebbled cloth, upper cover elaborately decorated and illustrated with armorial motifs richly embossed in gilt, the three initials of the title dyed red, sides gilt ruled, corner-tips slightly worn, spine in six compartments between blind ruled raised bands, gilt lettering embossed in 2nd compartment, gilt fleuron in each of the rest, marbled endpapers, cloth inner hinges, all sides heavily gilded; light sporadic pencil annotations in neat hand. In about fine condition. A most attractive, very well preserved copy. ~ First edition. Exceptionally well preserved copy in the extremely rare original binding. The identity of the gifted illustrator of this massive work is a mystery for many bibliographers. Samuel James Whawell had been employed by Brett to assist in the formation of his collection, "one of the largest private collections of early arms and armour ever formed, it was sold by Christie's on March 1895. Drawings of pieces from it, said to be by Whawell, are the basis of Edwin J. Brett's own large book (i.e. 'A Pictorial and Descriptive Record.' )" -- Claude Blair, "Crediton: a tale of two helmets," in "Studies in European Arms and Armour: The C. Otto Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art" (1992). In his "S. J. Whawell and the Art Market," Stuart Pyhrr, former Arms and Armour Curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, discusses the collection that Whawell put together for Brett, making reference to a set of letters now held by the Met, along with materials relating to conversations between Whawell and Stephen Grancsay (Pyhrr's predecessor at the Met) who had visited Whawell in London sometime between December 1924 and January 1925. "The collection is recorded in Brett's deluxe publication (i.e. 'A Pictorial and Descriptive Record.') for which Whawell claimed to have provided the descriptions and about 60% of the sketches that served as models for the engraved illustrations." (Pyhrr: "S. J. Whawell and the Art Market"). ~ Provenance: from the bequest of renown arms- and armour collector and author, Max Dreger, with his exquisite gilded lithograph bookplate, by K. Ochs. Max Dreger (1852-1929) was director of the firm Friedrich Krupp in Essen. An expert in the technique of arms and a well known collector of swords and daggers, he assembled an important library of military treatises on fortification and artillery, as well as a small collection of books on Japanese weapons and armour. In 1950 his collection of books was acquired by The Royal Armoury, the oldest museum in Sweden which was established by King Gustav II Adolph in 1628. [Note: Portrait of Whawell posed in pieces from his own collection, curtesy private collector].
      [Bookseller: Librarium of The Hague]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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