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WOOD (J. & R. M.). Specimens of Polytype Ornaments Cast by J. & R. M. Wood, (Late S. & T. Sharwood,) 89, West Smithfield, London.1850

London: J. & R. M. Wood, 4to (280 x 220 mm), over 2000 blocks on 198 leaves, including title and index leaf leaves, all printed on rectos only, 6 folding (one torn with minor loss to image), some occasional light spotting, orig. half morocco, spine tooled in gilt, a little rubbed but a very good copy, title stamped on upper cover in gilt. The blocks are arranged in subjects, which include coats of arms, animals and birds, wagons and coaches, a wide range of sailing ships, trades, baker's labels, horse racing and other sports, agricultural subjects, railway trains, printing presses, fists, views of the Crystal Palace, other London buildings, scenery at home and abroad, miniature scripture history illustrations, three picture alphabets, tea and tobacco labels, borders, and other ornaments. Signed blocks include examples by Ebenezer Landells, Orrin Smith, T. S. Adeney, and others. "This unique collection was commenced by Messrs. Vizetelly and Branston, and considerably improved and extended by the late Richard Mason Wood, founder of the firm of Wood and Sharwoods, and further added to by the late Thomas Sharwood, from the sale of Messrs. Alexander Wilson & Son's Foundry, and one hundred new sheets just printed by Wood and Company. The cost of the original Engravings have exceeded the sum of Fifteen Thousand Pounds. This is not only the largest and most varied assortment in the world, but for practical utility, unequalled."—Introduction. Richard Austin, a punch-cutter, founded the Imperial Letter Foundry some time before 1819. Later he was followed by his son George Austin (as Austin & Son in 1824) who succeeded to the business. On the death of George, the foundry was acquired by Richard Mason Wood, who subsequently, in 1833, in partnership with Samuel and Thomas Sharwood, moved to 120, Aldersgate Street, under the name of the Austin Letter Foundry. On Wood's death in 1845 the firm became S. and T. Sharwood. According to Bigmore & Wyman "after the death of the last surviving member of the Sharwoods, Thomas, the foundry was thrown into Chancery. It subsequently passed to two sons [James and Richard Mason] of R. M. Wood. They removed it from Aldergate-street to 89, West Smithfield, and thence to Farringdon-road, and here carried on business besides as printers' brokers, manufactures of materials, also publishing the Typographic Advertiser." Not listed on Copac or OCLC; however, there appears to be a copy at St. Brides Library. Bigmore & Wyman, III, p.98; Reed & Johnson, pp. 352-54; Gray, Nineteenth Century Ornamented Typefaces, p. 169.

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