EDWARDS, James (1757-1816) -- A Catalogue of the Valuable Library of James Edwards, Esq. London: Evans, 5 April 1815.
8o (228 x 148 mm). 3 engraved folding plates of ancient Greek vases. Contemporary half calf, green morocco lettering piece. Provenance: Peter Hall (1803-1849), divine and topographer (bookplate); Cambridge, Trinity College Library (bookplate, cancelled); A.N.L. Munby (bookplate).
LARGE-PAPER COPY ON FINE PAPER. Edwards was the son of William Edwards of Halifax (1720-1808), the celebrated bookbinder, who became one of the most successful and respected English booksellers after establishing himself in London in 1784. He specialized in acquiring great European book collections, such as the Pinelli (together with James Robson), and Paris de Meyzieu libraries, which he had sold in London by auction. After selling part of his stock in an anonymous sale at Christie's on 25 April 1804 (but retaining the finest books and manuscripts), he retired, a man of means, from business to a country estate, disposing of his firm to Robert Harding Evans (1778-1857) who, between 1812 and 1847, became the foremost auctioneer of "literary properties", including Edwards's library (also Roxburghe, Bindley, Blandford, Drury, Dent, and Hibbert sales). Edwards's sale, which realized £8,467.10, included vellum copies of the Sweynheim & Pannartz Livy, Rome 1469 (£903.0.0) and the 1469 Jenson Bible (£115.10.0), Martin Luther's own copy of the 1541 Wittenberg German Bible (£89.5.0), a tenth-century Gospels (£210.0.0), and the famous Bedford Missal (really a Book of Hours) from the Duchess of Portland sale, 1787 (lot 2951, £213.3.0 to Payne for Edwards), now in the British Library (£687.15.0). The catalogue contains 9 lots of Greek vases, of which only the first three were sold. PRICED in a contemporary hand, ruled in red. Dibdin, Bibliographical Decameron, III, 14-16 & 111-127; De Ricci, pp. 89-90; not in Blogie.