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Book Details

DIBDIN (Thomas Frognall). A Bibliographical Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany. [Bound with:] LEWIS (George) A Series of Groups, Illustrating the Physiognomy, Manners, and Character of the People of France and Germany. 1823. [Bound with:] LEWIS (George) Advertisement. [1823].1821

London: Printed for the Author by W. Bulmer and W. Nicol at the Shakspeare Press, First edition, 3 vols., 4to (280 x 185 mm), one of 100 copies printed on thick and large paper, [4], xxv, [7], 462,lxxix, [1], 13 leaves (Lewis, A Series of Groups... including the engraved dedication leaf), 4 leaves (Lewis' Advertisement); [4], 555, [1]; [4], 622, lxiipp., the first volume has no half-title (as usual), with the author's wood-engraved device on each title-page, a wood engraving of the elaborately-quartered coat of arms of the Roxburghe Club on the dedication page, 85 engraved plates ((including the private plate of 'Diana de Poictiers' in vol. 2, which was apparently destroyed after only 50 copies had been printed, and a proof of the 'Prater' plate in vol. 3), 62 illustrations printed on fine and thin "India" paper and mounted on the text leaves, 55 other illustrations in the text, with the additional sixty engraved plates on 52 leaves from Lewis' Series of Groups bound in at the appropriate places as designated by Lewis in his 'Directions to the binder', occasional light browning and offsetting (as usual), finely bound in contemporary tan morocco by Mackenzie signed on turn-in, spines elaborately gilt tooled in compartments, boards with a double fillet border, all edges gilt, slightly rubbed. A handsome large paper copy, with the additional set of etchings on india paper by George Lewis, of a classic work of the utmost importance for its wealth of eye-witness information and anecdotes about printed books, manuscripts, buildings, other artefacts and people, both from past centuries and from the author's own day, for the extraordinary collection of illustrations, mostly drawn during the tour itself, and finally as a sumptuous piece of book production. As soon as the book appeared, leading scholars derided Dibdin for his lack of scholarship, especially concerning early manuscripts and printed books. But one must distinguish between the extensive and extremely useful information about things and people Dibdin saw during his 1818 tour, and his own interpretations and conclusions, which now serve only as a window to the attitudes of the time. Dibdin's enthusiasm, readable style and entertaining anecdotes, moreover, caught the mood of his age, making the book extremely popular and influential. Lewis' A Series of Groups... was intended to accompany Dibdin's Tour but was rejected by Dibdin as unworthy of his book. Lewis, most perturbed, issued them at his own expense and presented his case in the eight-page Advertisement which was separately printed. Baron Dimsdale was obviously a supporter of Lewis and had this copy bound with the Lewis plates inserted at the appropriate places as intended by Lewis and included his Advertisement Provenance: Armorial bookplate of Baron Dimsdale to paste-down of each volume; pencil note of front endpaper of vol. 1 "Perfect copy, Bought of Quaritch Nov. 1866" and later "Walter Armytage 1937 from the Ralph Creykes' Library." Jackson 48; 56; 56n: Windle & Pippin A38a; A44; D13.

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