HOLBEIN, Hans (1497-1543, artist). Imitations of Original Drawings by Hans 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, the 'Biographical Tracts' by Edmund Lodge. London: W. Bulmer and Co for J. Chamberlaine, 1792-.
2 volumes bound in one, 2° (543 x 402mm). 83 stipple-engraved plates printed by F. Bartolozzi , C. Metz , and C. Knight [one] after Holbein, printed in colours, the double portrait of Henry and Charles Brandon finished by hand, 77 plates on pink paper, the others on white, 44 mounted. (Variable, generally light spotting, some text leaves and plates guarded in, one plate slightly frayed at the foot and reinforced.) Contemporary crimson straight-grained morocco gilt, the covers with borders of blind and gilt floral, foliate and decorative rolls, gilt roll-tooled board edges and turn ins, the spine gilt in compartments, lettered in gilt in the second and dated at the foot, the fourth compartment with the gilt, crowned 'SX' monogram of the Earls of Essex, the others decorated with elaborate designs composed of flower, acorn and other tools, purple watered-silk liners, gilt edges (extremities a little rubbed, boards slightly marked, neatly rebacked with contemporary backstrip, probably from an unrelated volume), later protective box.
'THE FINEST EARLY EXAMPLE OF ENGLISH COLOR PRINTING' (Ray). This remarkable work was published in 14 parts between 1792 and 1800, and contains a series of copies of Holbein's drawings on coloured papers: as Abbey notes, 'the colour printing reproduc[es] with extraordinary fidelity the original designs'. The present copy, with plates printed on white and pink papers which are smaller than or the same size as the text, 53 bearing watermarks dated 1794-1796 (1794: 44, 1795: 8, 1796: one), appears to represent a combination of Abbey's states 2, 3, and 4. Abbey Life 205; Brunet III, cols.259-260 ('ouvrage magnifique'); Ray England 19.