AESCHYLUS (525-456 B.C.). Tragoediae, in Greek. Glasgow: Andrew Foulis for the Academy, 1795.
FLAXMAN, John (1775-1826), artist. Compositions from the Tragedies of Aeschylus, designed by John Flaxman, engraved by Thomas Piroli. The Original Drawings in the possession of the Countess Dowager Spencer. London [i.e., Rome]: published for the artist by J. Matthews, 12 January 1795 [issued by Longman 1804 or later].
2o 379 x 229 mm). Aeschylus: Half-title. Greek and roman types cut by Alexander Wilson. (Occasional very light foxing, some offsetting from Flaxman plates, short marginal tear to A2 .) Flaxman: Engraved title and 30 numbered engraved plates on white wove paper, pl. 14 watermarked Hall & Taplin 1804, the rest unwatermarked. The plates bound out of order. (Short tears at folds of plates 14 and 27, 27 slightly creased and spotted, platemark and plate number of 3rd and 16th plates cropped.) Contemporary English tan calf gilt, sides panelled with thick and thin fillets and scrolling foliate roll, spine gilt and lettered in six false compartments, gilt edges (fading to top of upper cover, a few small scrapes, extremities worn).
ONE OF A HANDFUL OF EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED COPIES OF THE FOULIS AESCHYLUS, interleaved with a copy of the second edition (all or in part from a later issue) of Flaxman's neo-classical compositions. The designs were commissioned from Flaxman in 1792-93, during his seven-year residence in Italy, by the Countess Dowager Spencer, a member of the English community in Rome and cousin of the Mrs. Hare-Naylor for whom Flaxman had designed his influential series of compositions based on Homer (1793). "The first edition, also dated 1795, is printed from a different set of plates, either on un-watermarked paper or on Whatman paper watermarked 1794. Both sets of plates were engraved by Piroli in Rome; one set was printed there by him, and the other set was brought to England and printed by Flaxman's aunt, Jane Matthews. The Matthews set was later acquired by Longman who continued printing from the same plates, 1803-1828, the only distinguishing feature being the dates in the watermarks" (Blackmer Catalogue 604). "Flaxman's choice of great classics for the subjects of his illustrations and his spare but elegant style--chiefly inspired, it would seem, by Greek vase painting--made an irresistible appeal to the taste of the age... his outlines were widely copied and continually reprinted" (Ray England, p. 21).