(London: T. Payne, 1775-78). 195 x 120 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 1/4"). Five volumes. [Edited by Thomas Tyrwhitt] First Printing of this Edition.
VERY ATTRACTIVE 19TH CENTURY RED MOROCCO BY CHAMBOLLE-DURU (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with French fillet border, raised bands, compartments with gilt rose tool and floral borders, gilt lettering, heavily gilt dentelles, all edges gilt. Front pastedown with the bookplate of "Nané," possibly pasted over another bookplate. ESTC T76319. Lower cover of volume II with two small stains and upper cover with some long striations to the leather just visible when they catch the light, volume IV with a light scratch to upper cover, a touch of rubbing to the extremities, but a FINE AND VERY PRETTY SET, a touch of browning internally, otherwise very crisp and clean.
This handsomely bound set represents an important 18th century edition of Chaucer's most well-known work, considered in its day to be "'the best-edited English Classic that ever has appeared.'" (DNB, quoting the "Gentleman's Magazine") According to the preface, our editor, Thomas Tyrwhitt (1730-86), aimed to "give the text of The Canterbury Tales as correct as the Mss. within the reach of the Editor would enable him to make it. . . . The Editor therefore has proceeded as if his author had never been published before." This presents a departure from the scholarship of earlier editions, and according to the DNB, Tyrwhitt "significantly advanced the understanding and appreciation of Chaucer" in this era. His glossary and notes to this edition also presented a major contribution in terms of investigating and providing context to the language and style in which Chaucer wrote. Our binder, the elder Chambolle, was a rough contemporary of, and certainly the equal in technique to, binders like Trautz, Marius Michel père, Lortic, and Cuzin. He served his apprenticeship under Hippolyte Duru, and later formed a partnership with him. Chambolle's son continued the business when his father retired in 1898, and although the firm "showed a cautious recognition of the . . . preoccupation with Art Nouveau," classical work was always the mainstay of the Chambolle bindery. (Duncan & De Bartha). (ST14517a)
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PJP Catalog: 73.135