3 June 2009
HAMILTON, Sir William (1730-1803) -- Collection of Engravings from Ancient Vases Mostly of Pure Greek Workmanship. Naples: Tischbein, 1791-c.1796.
4 volumes, 2° (492 x 370mm). Engraved frontispiece, English and French engraved titles in each of the first three vols, and 254 engraved plates on 253 leaves, all on laid paper watermarked 'M'. (Very few leaves with light, even browning or faint marginal dampstain.) Contemporary diced russia panelled in gilt and blind and with a frame of gilt palmettes, marbled edges (binders blanks browned).
FIRST EDITION. A HANDSOME SET IN CONTEMPORARY RUSSIA, INCLUDING THE RARE FOURTH VOLUME. Few sets include this volume, which is lacking in both the British Library and the Blackmer sets. The text records Hamilton's second collection and is particularly valuable because one-third of the collection was lost when the ship transporting it to England sank off the Scilly Isles. The use of simple outline, rather than the elaborate coloured engravings of the first collection catalogue, was in keeping with Hamilton's original intention for the first catalogue: to be affordable to contemporary artists and manufacturers for use as a pattern book. Blackmer 778 (lacking vol. 4); Brunet V, 866; RIBA 3319-20 (lacking vol. 4); Vases and Volcanoes, pp.55-7. (4)
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