Of the Utmost Value to our Knowledge of Phonology (and of Yorkshire Ales)

THE PRAISE OF YORK-SHIRE ALE, WHEREIN IS ENUMERATED SEVERAL SORTS OF DRINK, WITH A DISCRIPTION OF THE HUMORS OF MOST SORTS OF DRUNCKARDS. TO WHICH IS ADDED, A YORK-SHIRE DIALOGUE . . . WITH THE ADDITION OF SOME OBSERVATIONS, OF THE DIALECT . . . IN THE EAST RYDING.

(York: J. White for Francis Hildyard, 1697). 157 x 92 mm. (6 1/4 x 3 5/8"). 2 p.l., 124 pp. Third Edition.

ELEGANT DARK BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO BY CHARLES LEWIS (owner's ink notation, dated 1831, on rear flyleaf), covers bordered by three gilt rules, raised bands, spine compartments with rows of gilt flowers, tan morocco label, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of William Gott; 1906 article reporting on Gott's sale at Sotheby's, mentioning this volume specifically, laid in at front; rear flyleaf with ink note: "Hibberts sale. 1839 / binding by C. Lewis 1831." Wing M-1810; ESTC R19511. Very slight signs of wear to leather, but the attractive binding extremely well preserved and very pleasing. Leaves apparently lightly pressed, minor soiling to title page and last four leaves, small repairs to worming on upper corner and head edge of A2, but a clean and fresh copy internally.

First printed in 1685, this is a book with two very different parts, the first being a rowdy and amusing poem on Yorkshire ales, and the second a much more serious and important linguistic work on the Yorkshire dialect--both offered here in a binding by a prominent English craftsman. Scion of a landed county family and author of well-regarded legal treatises, attorney George Meriton (1634-1711) began to create a record of the Yorkshire dialect in 1683, when he published "A York-shire Dialogue in its Pure Natural Dialect." A second edition was printed in 1685, prefaced by the poem "The Praise of York-shire Ale" and with the addition of a pioneering dialect glossary. Our third edition includes more dialogues in the York dialect. According to linguist Martyn Wakelin, Meriton's work is still "of the utmost value to our knowledge of late 17th century northern phonology." In addition, the work was influential in encouraging others to document regional dialects in Britain. This is an uncommonly seen item. The son of a Hanoverian immigrant, Charles Lewis (1786-1836) was apprenticed to Henry Walther at 14, and obtained his freedom in 1807. He set up a shop in Scotland Yard, had other addresses in the Strand, before establishing himself in Duke Street, St. James, in 1817. By 1823 he was employing 21 journeymen, a number of whom are illustrated in a watercolor of the bindery reproduced in Middleton's "A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique" (p. 349). Lewis was patronized by the great collectors of the day, including William Beckford, who favored him above all others. In a letter to the bookseller George Clarke written in 1831--the year our binding was done--Beckford declared: "Lewis was, and is, and I hope will continue to be, the first artist in this line that Europe can boast of." Our tasteful binding is a fine and well-preserved example of his work.
(ST15929a)