HOLBEIN, Hans (1497-1543, artist). Imitations of Original Drawings by ... Holbein in the Collection of his Majesty, for the Portraits of Illustrious Persons of the Court of Henry VIII. With Biographical Tracts. Edited by John Chamberlaine. London: W. Bulmer and Co. for J. Chamberlaine, 1792-[1800; text leaves watermarked 1794-1804].
14 parts bound in one volume, 2° (549 x 423mm). 83 stipple-engraved plates printed in colours by F. Bartolozzi , C. Metz  and C. Knight  after Holbein, the double portrait of Henry and Charles Brandon finished by hand, 69 printed on pink and 14 on white paper. (Scattered spotting and occasional light marginal marking, plate of Jane Seymour trimmed touching caption, plate of Lord Wentworth with marginal adhesive mark.) Contemporary diced russia gilt [some interleaves watermarked 1806-7], Botfield arms at centre, broad borders of fillets and rolls in gilt and blind, blindstamped cornerpieces, turn-ins roll-tooled in gilt and blind, flat spine gilt in compartments, lettered in one and at the foot, the others decorated in gilt, gauffered gilt edges. (spine slightly faded, a few scuff marks, extremities rubbed). Provenance: 'Large Paper , 40 guineas' (early 19th-century booksellers' pencilled note on front free endpaper) 5-line bibliographical note in pencil on the front free endpaper, describing this as 'An original subscriber's copy'.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST IMPRESSION. 'THE FINEST EARLY EXAMPLE OF ENGLISH COLOUR PRINTING' (Ray). This remarkable work was published in 14 parts between 1792 and 1800, and contains a series of engravings on tinted paper of Holbein's drawings by Bartolozzi, his pupil Metz, and Knight: as Abbey notes, 'the colour printing reproduc[es] with extraordinary fidelity the original designs'. Lowndes states that 'the first impressions are printed on tinted paper, mostly the size of the page'; in this copy 69 of the 83 plates are printed on full-sized pink sheets, some watermarked 1794. Abbey Life 205; Brunet III, 259-260 ('ouvrage magnifique'); Lewine pp.243-4; Lowndes p.405; Ray England 19.