(York: Printed by W. Blanchard, 1796). 191 x 124 mm. (7 1/2 x 4 7/8"). Two volumes.

HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY TREE CALF, ELABORATELY GILT, BY KALTHOEBER (his ticket on verso of front endpaper), covers bordered with gilt Greek key roll, flat spines ornately gilt in compartments featuring various repeated tools (quatrefoil, Greek key, foliate, etc.), each spine with black morocco label, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Both volumes with the early signature of Elizabeth Hervey on verso of front endpaper. Lower compartment of spine on second volume with abrasion and moderate loss of gilt, one corner a little rubbed, otherwise only trivial wear, the bindings handsome and well preserved. Blanks at the back of each volume a little soiled, otherwise A VERY FINE AND VERY PRETTY SET, VIRTUALLY PRISTINE INTERNALLY.

This is an extremely pleasing set bound by Christian Kalthoeber, one of the finest binders of the late 18th century. Like Staggemeier & Welcher, he came to London from Germany in response to the need to produce handsome bindings for the libraries of English gentlemen. He worked for the well-respected Baumgarten and then succeeded him in 1781. He produced many fine bindings, one of which was priced so high--at the staggering sum of 30 guineas--that George III insisted on seeing the volume in person. Although his skills began to erode in the first decade of the 19th century, Kalthoeber "was considered during his day to be the finest binder in the world." (Maggs Catalogue 966) The first volume of the present set contains some 20 odes, elegies, epitaphs, and dramatic poems, while the second volume contains the author's well-known didactic poem "The English Garden," which, according to the preface, was revised specially for this extensively annotated edition. A third volume of miscellaneous works by Mason was issued by the same printer in 1797. Although his own work is of considerable merit, Mason (1724-97) is perhaps best known for his friendship with Thomas Gray. From the time the two were in college, they were devoted friends, and Gray named Mason his literary executor, a position in which he was aided by Horace Walpole. Mason also wrote a biography of Gray and edited his letters.

Keywords: Kalthoeber

Add to Cart Price: $1,750.00

PJP Catalog: 73.082


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