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The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of The British Islands, from the Earliest Periods to the Sixth Century; To which is added, that of the Gothic Nations on the Western Coasts of the Baltic, the Ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo Danes.
ondon: Printed by William Bulmer and Co Shakspeare Press Published by R Havell : First edition 1815 - folio, (36 x 27cm), [x], 59pp., fine colour frontispiece and 24 finely engraved aquatint plates, all edges blocked in gilt, some old staining to blank endpapers mainly affecting the outer edges with some occasional very light old stains to extreme outer margins of final two leaves (unaffecting text in anyway), bound in handsome full dark green straight-grained morocco, with thick gilt decorative roll tool window and offset with blind embossed roll tooling together with inner gilt floral borders, fine gilt decorated spine in compartments with 5 slightly raised bands. A most handsome binding with some occasional rubbing on extremities. A generally VG copy with the text and plates in clean condition of this classic English colour plate book covering the history of British and Irish costume from the earliest period to the sixteenth century. Abbey Life (First edition) 427 ‘All plates have at the bottom a small coloured engraving of an archaeological object.’Tooley pp.266-6; Prideaux 321, 344; Colas No. 2051; Brunet III 1692; Prideaux, pp. 321-3. 'So far as our own country is concerned, the most important and in their way epoch-making books on costume were those of Charles Hamilton Smith and Samuel Rush Meyrick, written as they were from the point of view of the antiquary and scholar'. Depicting amongst other things, Bardic Scholars, a Judicial Druid, the Grand Conventional Festival of the Britains at Stonehenge, Costume of the Pagan Irish, Costume of a Pagan Saxon Chief, etc. This was one of a number of books that had been inspired by William Stukeley's work on Stonehenge, which had brought Druids and ancient Britons to the forefront of the romantic imagination. The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands and other works developed Stukeley's ideas within a strongly patriotic framework. The pictures of ancient Britons in these publications show a mixture of influences. In part they resemble the images of native Americans that appeared in early travel literature, but the figures are in poses like those of the classical gods that travellers saw in Greek and Roman sculptures while on the Grand Tour. In addition, they are shown wearing the ornaments and weapons that antiquaries were discovering and publishing in the Society of Antiquaries' journal Archaeologia and elsewhere. Bronze swords and rapiers, as well as torcs, socketed axes, and gold lunulae and brooches all appear in these imagined recreations of life in ancient Britain.The speculation about the clothing of the early Britons and how they used the various objects is typical of these works. Smith's fanciful images include 'A Briton of the Interior' standing before an earthwork fort, tattooed Maaeatae and Caledonians from North Briton in front of a cromlech, and various Druid priests and bards. His speculations were based on earlier research by Meyrick. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Geoffrey Jackson (Bookseller)]
Last Found On: 2014-11-19           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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