(Oxford: Samuel Collingwood, Printer to the University, for C. J. G. and F. Rivington, 1830). 220 x 140 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 1/2"). xxvii, [i], 478 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Very decorative contemporary deep purple straight-grain morocco, covers with a frame of multiple gilt and blind fillets and featuring a dense gilt roll, interlacing at medians, and broad-leaf ornaments, broad raised bands, spine compartments with interlaced lobed ribbons, cornerpieces, and central massed tools, turn-ins gilt-ruled, moiré silk endleaves, all edges gilt, and WITH A VERY PLEASING FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. Housed in an unusually fine heavily gilt pebble-grain morocco clamshell box in convincing imitation of the present binding. Front pastedown with an armorial bookplate ("Souvenez St. Quentin"), front free endpaper with the morocco bookplate of Lucy Smith (Doheny) Battson. Lower cover with uneven fading, spine darkened (with consequent dulling of gilt), light wear to extremities and joints, otherwise an excellent copy, the once extremely pretty binding still appealing (with glistening gilt on covers), the text very bright, fresh, and clean, and the fore-edge painting perfectly preserved.
This is a volume containing a work of substantial interest in its time and enhanced by a splendid fore-edge painting that reflects the book's content. The well-balanced painting here depicts an imposing Canterbury Cathedral against a richly blue sky with large, billowing gray and white clouds. Pairs of trees flank our view of the town of Canterbury in the proximal foreground, and a small herd of cows is right of center. The distinctive treatment of clouds and pointilistic brush strokes for detail are hallmarks of the style of the very skillfull artist called the "Dover Painter." The work of this artist is always excellent, but this painting takes a place among his best for its multiplicity of detail, its convincing sense of space, and the deftness of its execution. A provincial schoolmaster, rector, and vicar before becoming chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral, Henry Soames (1785–1860) authored a number of significant works on ecclesiastical history. Now rarely seen for sale, the present group of sermons was part of the prestigious Bampton Lectures, a series of annual addresses that began in 1780 and that especially in the 19th century occasioned considerable interest and controversy. (ST12795)
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PJP Catalog: 67.163