(London: Printed for John Sharpe and Hector Mc'Lean, [ca. 1820]). 133 x 83 mm. (5 1/4 x 3 1/4").
Pleasing 19th century red straight-grain morocco, covers with blind-ruled frame and gilt cresting roll accented with palmettes, raised bands, spines panels densely gilt in a repeating pattern of curls and volutes, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt. EACH VOLUME WITH AN ATTRACTIVE FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF A LANDSCAPE. Each volume with engraved title page vignette. Title pages with the 19th century signature of M. B. Battew(?). Joints and extremities somewhat rubbed (one volume starting at the head) but the bindings entirely secure, spines a little darkened, some volumes chipped with a little loss at head, occasional mild foxing or offsetting, but excellent examples overall, with pleasing and well-preserved fore-edge paintings.
Offered individually, these volumes contain edifying excerpts that might be studied both for their improving content and for their examples of form to be used in one's own compositions. The fore-edge paintings mostly depict the home of a great British writer, from Cowper's cottage at Olney, to the bustling Lichfield street where Dr. Johnson was born, to Walpole's neo-Gothic folly Strawberry Hill, to Pope's elegant villa in Twickenham. One scene features classical ruins that must be in Greece or Italy, and another features a river scene with a Medieval stone bridge that is perhaps more Continental than English. All the paintings are enlivened by figures in the foreground, whether it is Cowper tending his roses or the carters and tradesmen in the Lichfield road, with the pastoral scenes dominated by soft blues and greens. While the size of the book necessarily means that the artist in each case had a relatively small canvas to work with, and while these paintings attain a level of aesthetic achievement below the best examples we have handled, they all are nevertheless pleasing compositions, and each represents a kind of starter-home fore-edge painting offered at a very advantageous price. For other volumes at various price points, please check our website. (ST11731bC)
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