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[OLDYS (William) JOHNSON (Samuel) & MAITTAIRE (Michel). Catalogus Bibliothecae Harleianae, in locos communes distributus cum indice auctorum.1743

London: Thomas Osborne. 4 Vols., 8vo (210 x 130 mm), [8], 488; xx, 489-1034, 37, [3]; [12], [xiii]-xvi, 408; [6], 409-858pp., lacking in vol. 1 the prefatory eight-page 'An Account of the Harleian Library', woodcut initials and head-pieces, some minor spotting or light foxing to endpapers and prelims, contemporary quarter calf, marbled paper boards, sympathetically rebacked, with label lettered in gilt, a nice uncut set. The enormous library of 50,000 printed books, and some 7639 manuscripts formed by Robert Harley (1661-1724), 1st Earl of Oxford, Edward Harley (1689-1741), second Earl of Oxford, and their librarian Humfrey Wanley (1672-1726). The first Earl of Oxford "was one of the first collectors who systematically acquired early printed books; his son Edward... continued the library. After the latter's death in 1741, his widow sold the library for 13,000 pounds to the London bookseller Thomas Osborne (d. 1767), who employed Dr. Johnson and William Oldys, antiquary and later Norroy King-of-Arms, to catalogue it." (Breslauer & Folter). The catalogue was planned by Michael Maittaire who also wrote the Latin dedication to Lord Carteret. Dr. Johnson shared the cataloguing of the collection with Oldys. Although this was a bookseller's catalogue, the prices were not published, but Osborne marked a minimum price it each, which were then sold to the highest bidder. The bulk of the manuscripts were sold to the nation for £10,000. This is catalogue of the library of Robert and Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford, is complete. A fifth volume published by Osborne in 1745 is nothing more than a catalogue of Osborne's old stock. Provenance: With the gilt crest stamp of William Stuart (1798 - 1874) on upper and lower boards. De Ricci, pp. 33-38; Breslauer & Folter, 102.

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