An Eminent Production about Eminence, with Handsome Giant Folio Colored Plates


(London: William Pickering, 1842-46). 560 x 384 mm. (22 x 15"). Two volumes. FIRST EDITIONS, the Second State of the first volume (the first volume with its 1842 title page, and both volumes with an 1846 title page). ONE OF A STRICTLY LIMITED (but unspecified) NUMBER OF COPIES.

ESPECIALLY IMPRESSIVE RED CRUSHED MOROCCO, HANDSOMELY GILT, BY RIVIÈRE (stamped-signed on front flyleaf of each volume), covers panelled with two sets of French fillets, between which are elaborate botanical cornerpieces; raised bands, spine compartments beautifully gilt with scrolling cornerpieces and very large and charming lozenge centerpiece comprising two turtle doves on an elaborate floral bush, the lozenge surrounded by circlets and other small tools, elaborately gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Illustrated throughout with hand-colored coats of arms and decorated family trees as part of the text, as well as 82 LARGE-FOLIO ENGRAVED PLATES, 40 OF THEM HAND COLORED (32 plates containing architectural features or artifacts, 49 plates being portraits, and one featuring both, some plates with multiple portraits, adding up to a total of 73, of which 63 are hand colored). Title pages in red and black. Keynes, p. 52. ◆Joints a little rubbed, covers with negligible marks and soiling, one plate with small (though noticeable) dampstain, one plate with overall splotchy (but faint) foxing, perhaps a dozen other plates with some never-offensive foxing, but still an extremely desirable set in especially handsomely morocco, the bindings completely solid, with lustrous gilt, and the considerable internal hand painting rich and bright.

This is a beautifully bound and especially imposing genealogical work focusing on the histories of a dozen British families: Ashburnham, Arden, Compton, Cecil, Harley, Bruce, Perceval, Dunbar, Hume, Dundas, Drummond, and Neville. As Keynes suggests, it is a sumptuous production, "a very elaborate work . . . undoubtedly printed by C[harles] Whittingham, Chiswick [with] only a small number [issued]." The eminence of the printer and publisher are evident in the general very high quality here, and the illustrations are always bright and occasionally striking. Fashioned after histories of the "Celebri Famiglie Italiane," published by Count Litta of Milan, the present work divides the families into two major groups, those which preceded the Norman conquest, and those which rose to eminence afterward, with only the direct male lines of the family being delineated. Our editor, Henry Drummond (1786-1860), was an English banker, politician, and writer, perhaps best known as one of the 12 founders, or apostles, of the Catholic Apostolic Church (that inaptly named sect, organized in 1835 in England, that included mostly Anglicans seeking a renewed spiritual power, and, in fact, few Catholics, if any at all). The first of our two volumes was published in 1842, and the second four years later; our copy has the first edition sheets of both (including the original title page of Volume I), and an 1846 title page for both volumes. Bound in our second volume, we find both states of a chart relating to the Perceval family, the inaccurate one that should have been cancelled, as well as its replacement.

Price: $9,500.00