3 June 2009
SOCIETY OF DILETTANTI. Specimens of Antient Sculpture, Aegyptian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman. London: by T. Bensley for T. Payne and J. White, 1809-1835.
2 volumes, 2° (542 x 370mm and 560 x 375mm). With the list of plates for both volumes. 133 engraved plates, engraved head- and tailpieces. (Some spotting, mostly in vol.1.) Contemporary straight-grained red morocco (vol. 1), sides panelled in blind and gilt, edges gilt, and ?original brown cloth-backed boards (vol. 2), gilt label on the spine (morocco vol. rubbed at the extremities and lightly soiled, endpapers spotted; cloth vol. with lower joint split, extremities rubbed, light soiling).
FIRST EDITION. 'AN IMPORTANT WORK' (Blackmer); a 'magnificent book' (Brunet). One of 200 published, of which 60 on large-paper reserved for members of the society. Although the Blackmer catalogue does not give dimensions for its large-paper copy, the present copy is taller than that in the Royal Academy, particularly the second volume which is still uncut and probably in its original binding. The majority of the works illustrated was drawn from the collections of Richard Payne Knight and Charles Townley. Knight wrote text for both volumes, where he asserts that artistic creativity is evidence of political liberty. Blackmer 1567 (lacking the list of plates in vol.2); Brunet V, 474. (2)
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