(London: [Printed by Charles Whittingham for] William Pickering, 1830). 190 x 115 mm. (7 1/2 x 4 3/4"). 14 pp.,  leaves printed on recto only. Introduction by Thomas Frognall Dibdin. ONE OF SIX COPIES ON VELLUM.
Attractive contemporary indigo pebble-grain morocco, gilt, covers with frame of seven gilt fillets, raised bands with floral tooling, spine gilt in compartments framed by multiple gilt rules, gilt titling, gilt-ruled turn-ins, all edges gilt. WITH 90 FINE WOOD ENGRAVINGS by John and Mary Byfield after Holbein. Front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of John Croft Deverell. Keynes, "William Pickering," p. 61; Windle & Pippin A54a; Graesse III, 317; Lowndes I, 199. See also Hoe sale, Part IV, lot 1637, Anderson Galleries, 11 November 1912; and Terry sale, Part II, lot 120, Anderson Galleries, 7 November 1934. Occasional (naturally occurring) variations in grain of vellum, a little rumpling at head edge of leaves, but A VERY FINE COPY--quite clean, fresh, and bright internally, and in a virtually unworn binding.
Printed on creamy vellum that displays its illustrations and typography with extraordinary richness, this is Pickering's outstanding edition of Holbein's Old Testament illustrations in its most luxurious form. In remarkable condition and handsomely bound, the volume is surely the most beautiful Pickering book we have ever offered for sale. Taken from designs in Jean Frellon's 1547 Lyon edition, the woodcuts here are engraved for Charles Whittingham by John and Mary Byfield and accompanied by text in English, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Keynes considers it to be "of special merit" among Pickering's productions. First printed in 1538, Holbein's renowned series of Scripture cuts is composed of lively, fluid scenes executed with great skill, the mood fluctuating from drama to pathos. The interaction between the figures is often almost palpable. Praised by Worringer for establishing "a synthesis between sophisticated mastery and primitive creativity, which gives his illustrations the character of classical models," Hans Holbein the younger (1497-1543) was born into a family of artists and rose to fame for his portrait paintings and for his woodcut book illustrations. Dibdin says that the artists who recreated these cuts came from "an ingenious and worthy family" of engravers. Mary Byfield (1795-1871) and her brother John (1788-1841) learned the art from their father, and collaborated on a number of works, including this and the Holbein "Dance of Death" published by Pickering. After gaining recognition for illustrating works by Dibdin, Mary worked for Charles Whittingham's Chiswick Press for more than 40 years, illustrating many Pickering editions, and designing printers' devices, decorative initials, and head- and tailpieces. Lowndes notes that there were only six vellum copies of this work printed, and we have only been able to trace one other copy at auction in the past 50 years, the Hoe-Terry copy that sold in 1991. (ST16368)
Add to Cart Price: $32,500.00
PJP Catalog: NY21BF.064