(London: Printed for T. Cadell, 1830, 1834). 202 x 135 mm. (8 x 5 1/2"). Two separately published works bound in two volumes (but often found as companion volumes). First Illustrated Editions.
VERY PRETTY SKY-BLUE MOROCCO, GILT, BY W. ROOT & SON (stamp-signed on front turn-ins), covers with gilt rule frame bedecked with a profusion of flowers, raised bands, spines gilt in compartments with large floral spray centerpiece, gilt titling, turn-ins decorated with gilt rules and floral garland, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. The two volumes with a total of four plates, 20 illustrations in the text, and more than 100 fine steel-engraved headpieces and tailpieces, after designs mostly by J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Stothard. Ray 13, 15. ◆Spines slightly and uniformly darkened to a blue-green, but AN EXTREMELY PRETTY SET IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the immaculate text with virtually no signs of use, and the glittering bindings unworn.
In flamboyant decorative morocco and containing illustrations of considerable interest, this is an extremely appealing set of two poetic works that added greatly to the contemporaneous popularity of the author and artists involved. The scion of a wealthy banking family, Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) first achieved fame with the publication in 1792 of "The Pleasures of Memory." After Italian travels, during which he met Shelley and Byron in Pisa, Rogers produced a first version of "Italy" in 1822 and issued a sequel in 1826, both of which sold poorly. He destroyed the unsold copies, revised the poems, and published them at his own expense in the present edition of 1830 (our first volume), embellished this time by illustrations. These were the work of two artists born in the same year but with very different propensities--Stothard (1755-1834), who did demure figure scenes, and Turner (1775-1851), who provided landscape vignettes. The success of this edition was perhaps due as much to the artists as to the poet. The London bindery of William Root & Son consistently turned out excellent work, both on fine bindings like the present set and on trade bindings of multi-volume works. Packer lists the firm in business in Red Lion Square in 1899-1901, and the December 1942 issue of "The Rotarian" notes with regret that Root had been bombed out of their premises on Paternoster Row during the 1941 Blitz. (ST17640m)