23 April 2001
BOSWELL, James (1740-1795). The Life of Samuel Johnson. London: Printed by Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, 1791.
2 volumes, 4o (299 x 229 mm). Engraved portrait of Johnson by James Heath after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2 engraved plates of facsimiles by H. Shepherd. (Small repaired hole on front free endpaper, p. xi with small marginal repair, closed tear on Ccc2 just touching two letters, occasional marginal paper flaws.) Original calf-backed marbled boards, spine gilt, edges untrimmed (spine and corners a little worn); later cloth folding case.
Provenance: ?Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) British ornithologist: ownership signatures on title-pages ("P. L. Sclater") -- Hoddington House: armorial bookplate -- "JH": initials on front pastedowns.
FIRST EDITION of "the great double act of English literature" (Arnold Kemp, review article, The Observer, 5 Nov. 2000). Second issue, with "gve" on line 10, p. 35 in volume one; Mm4, Nn1 (volume 1), E3, Oo4, Qq3, Zz1 and Eee2 (volume 2) are cancels. 1,750 copies of the first edition were printed. The book was published 16 May 1791 and achieved immediate critical acclaim. It has not been out of print since. Grolier English 54; Rothschild 463; Tinker 338. (2)
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