London, South Kensington
9 June 2015
GIBBON, Edward (1737-1794). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London: for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776-1788. 6 volumes, 4° (284 x 220mm). Half-titles in volumes 1-3 only; with errata in each volume. Volume 1 with errata uncorrected, and all volumes with the usual cancels and points. Volume II with engraved frontispiece portrait of Gibbon after Joshua Reynolds dated 1780, and with the folding map of the Eastern Empire; volume III with folding map of the Western Empire. (Occasional spotting, a few short tears.) Contemporary calf (rebacked, three volumes preserving the original spines, corners and extremities rubbed). Provenance: Robert Drummond (1728-1804, banker; bookplate) – C.A.W. Drummond (his sale, Sotheby’s, 25 August 1942; note recording the purchase tipped at end of vol. 1) – Edward Hilton Young, 1st Baron Kennet (1879-1960, politician and writer; bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS ‘MASTERPIECE OF HISTORICAL PENETRATION AND LITERARY STYLE', which remains, despite the numerous later works devoted to this voluminous subject, 'the only historical narrative prior to Macaulay which continues to be reprinted and actually read' (PMM). During the publication of the first edition Strahan predicted the popularity of the work and doubled the print run from 500 to 1000 copies, entailing resetting of sheets. Strahan's instincts proved correct, and the entire first thousand copies sold out in a fortnight. Grolier English 58; Norton 20, 23, 29; PMM 222; Rothschild 942.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
+44 (0)20 7389 2157
+44 (0)20 7389 2150
+44 (0)20 7389 2674
+44 (0)20 7389 3144
+44 (0)20 7389 2154
+44 (0)20 7389 2255
+44 (0)20 7389 2151
No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium.
Mark Wiltshire, Associate Specialist in Science & Books, walks us through the history of Christianity’s most influential printed text
Our Books and Manuscripts specialists advise on a richly rewarding and ever-evolving collectors’ market
Offered in New York, the art collected by the Tony Award-winning producer, philanthropist and ‘grand dame’ of Palm Beach
Nishad Avari guides us through the life and art of one of India’s most important painters — illustrated with works offered on 11 September in New York