(London: Printed for John Booth, 1814). 225 x 133 mm. (8 7/8 x 5 1/4"). 1 p.l., lviii, 416 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Pleasing contemporary midnight blue straight-grain morocco, covers framed by plain gilt rules outlining Greek key and palmette blind rolls, raised bands, compartments with central gilt fleuron radiating densely blind-tooled foliage, gilt-ruled turn-ins, all edges gilt; WITH AN EXCELLENT FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF DOVER CASTLE. A PRESENTATION COPY, with (slightly foxed) signed autograph letter bound in opposite title (with letter offsets): "The Author / begs Mr. E. S. Stephenson's / acceptance of this Volume / as a token of his / friendship and esteem. / R. S." Front pastedown with unidentified armorial bookplate. Full list of subscribers including addenda. A bit of wear to corners and joints, a very small (ink?) stain to edge of preliminary leaves visible at upper left background of fore-edge painting (not affecting primary image), otherwise a fine copy, clean and fresh internally in a lustrous binding.
This is a decorative binding highlighted by an atmospheric fore-edge scene of Dover Castle painted by a skilled artist. The view depicts a cottage along a country road in the foreground, with Dover Castle looming in the background against a hazy sky; a small figure, presumably the cottage owner, stands right of center. The scene is well designed, with the eye moving from the cottage and castle towers at left toward the sea at the far right, the foreground landscape's more saturated color anchoring the composition. Of particular note is how this foregound, contrasted with the background's washed color, creates the illusion of perspective. Despite the (light) browns and greens at the bottom of the scene, the painting is essentially gray and particularly tranquil as a result. The skill of the painter here is seen most notably in his delicate and subtle shading, a challenge that defeats even very able practitioners of the fore-edge painting. As always, the dating of the painting is difficult, but we think that it was done much closer to the time of publication than to the present day. Our author, the Rev. Robert Stevens, was a celebrated speaker who ultimately rose to become the head of the chapter of canons at Rochester Cathedral. (ST12630)
Add to Cart Price: $1,300.00
PJP Catalog: 67.164