(Glasguae [Glasgow]: In aedibus academicis, excudebant Robertus et Andreas Foulis, 1756-58). 330 x 202 mm. (13 x 8"). With half titles, but without the general title (issued in 1758), as usual. Four volumes bound in two. First Edition of the Foulis Homer.
Handsome contemporary cat's-paw calf, covers with lacy gilt frame, raised bands, spine compartments densely gilt in a lattice pattern, red and green morocco labels, marbled endpapers and edges (small, old discreet repairs perhaps made to joints, and expertly done if they exist). Large Paper Copy. Front pastedowns with armorial bookplate of Richard Croftes, Esq. Gaskell 319; Dibdin II, 58; Lowndes II, 1097. One joint cracked (but board still firmly attached), other joints with short cracks at head or tail, gilt a little rubbed in spots, boards with a few small patches of lost patina from insect activity, but the once-superb bindings still sound and pleasing. A hint of offsetting in the text, otherwise A BEAUTIFUL COPY INTERNALLY--remarkably clean, smooth, and with generous margins.
This is the outstanding Large Paper version of the most esteemed product of the Foulis Press, praised by Harwood as "one of the most splendid editions of Homer ever delivered to the world," with accuracy "equal to its magnificence." According to Gaskell, the Foulis Homer is "a magnificent achievement, a modern approach to type design." The Greek type was designed by Alexander Wilson, and was notable for breaking with the style of Garamond's grec du roi. Lowndes considered it "one of the most splendid specimens of Greek typography extant." Edward Gibbon observed the impact beautiful printing has on the reader: "As the eye is the organ of fancy, I read Homer with more pleasure in the Glasgow edition. Through that fine medium, the poet's sense appears more beautiful and transparent." Dibdin describes the "great splendor and beauty" of the large paper copies, one of which resided at the Althorp library. The Homer was edited by Glasgow classics professors James Moor and George Muirhead, who proofed it, page by page, at least six times. The great pains paid off: Robert and Andrew Foulis were awarded a silver medal by the Select Society of Edinburgh for the best-printed and most correct Greek book. Founded by Robert Foulis in 1740 and continued with and by his brother Andrew, the Foulis Press produced more than 700 editions in six decades of publishing, always characterized by accurate scholarship, fine quality paper and types, and printing that was done to exacting technical standards. Although the contemporary binding of the present copy shows signs of use, it retains most of its original stateliness, and, combined with the wonderful interior, makes for a very desirable volume. (CBJ1742)
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PJP Catalog: 72.081