(London: Printed by E. Tyker and R. Holt for Thomas Dring, 1672). 315 x 205 mm. (12 3/8 x 8 1/8"). 18 p.l., 756 pp. Third Edition.
VERY STRIKING CONTEMPORARY CRIMSON MOROCCO, ELABORATELY TOOLED IN GILT, BY THE NAVAL BINDER, covers with densely gilt narrow oval framed within a panel consisting of similarly gilt corners and bursting with copious floral sprays, border of floral tools connected by semi-circles, beautifully rebacked preserving original backstrip (corners also apparently with tiny restorations), raised bands, gilt panel decoration resembling a Maltese cross, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt and lightly gauffered. Woodcut headpieces and decorative initials, engraved frontispiece of the author, one engraved double-page plate, and 49 illustrations in the text (seven engraved, the rest woodcuts). Printed in various typefaces, including Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Fraktur, and black letter; title page with signature of J. Somers; "Hadriani Beverlandi" inscribed on final page. Wing S-2440; Lowndes III, 2237. Two minor abrasions and a short scratch to upper cover, spine with a hint of fading, text with light foxing, mostly at edges (rather frequent but never serious), paper flaw on G2, other trivial imperfections, but A WONDERFUL VOLUME, the internal problems of no great consequence, and the binding glittering with gold.
This is one of the most splendid early English binding we have ever offered for sale, with beautiful and intricate ornamentation realized by a very skilled decorator. Our artisan was dubbed the Naval Binder by H. M. Nixon because most of his work was done for the Navy Office. According to Maggs Catalogue 1075 (item #91), "the bindery was active in the 1670s and 1680s, producing well proportioned and carefully tooled bindings," and their style and prestige were esteemed sufficiently to spawn imitators. Specimens of their work can be found in the British Library (Davis Gift), at the Wormsley Library, in Nixon, and elsewhere, all of them with designs and decoration similar to ours. Called by Milton "the chief of learned men [in England]," Selden (1584-1654) amassed a fortune from a lucrative law practice, but he is better known as a legal antiquary and Oriental scholar, and he is known best of all as the central figure in the famous "Table Talk," published in 1689, which recorded his conversation as full of wit, shrewd analysis, memorable anecdote, and common sense. In the present exhaustive work, he discusses in close detail the history of titles and dignities of kings and emperors and then of lesser orders of nobility, as well as the laws relating to ceremonial preference. First published in 1614, the present work, in the words of Britannica, "has remained [down to the 20th century] the most comprehensive and trustworthy work of its kind that we possess." Because this is the kind of book that would be subjected to repeated use, it is seldom found in good condition in today's marketplace. (ST13539)
Add to Cart Price: $15,000.00
PJP Catalog: ELIST11.005