KINGSTON, Evelyn Pierrepont, First Duke of (1665-1726) -- Catalogus Bibliothecae Kingstonianae. [London: Privately Printed by William Bowyer, 1726-27].
2o (439 x 284 mm). Without title-page and preliminaries as issued. 6 engravings showing the Kingston coat-of-arms, two views of Thoresby House, one of its park, and two views of the library, by Thomas Simpson, repeated as head- and tail-pieces; numerous engraved historiated initials. Original calf-backed marbled boards, red morocco lettering piece on spine. VERY FINE.
"The earliest printed catalogue of what can properly be considered a personal library" (Pollard & Ehrman), though now known to have been preceded by the Conte de Toulouse's catalogue (see lot 397). It remains the first English private library catalogue. It was limited to twenty copies and was printed by William Bowyer, the foremost printer of his day. The catalogue is alphabetically arranged by the Duke's librarian, Arnald, and its superb production, with handsome engravings showing his library and its surroundings went far beyond the systemic needs of a catalogue inventory. The library contained around twelve thouseand printed books and manuscripts, collected over several generations of the Pierrepont family.
This remarkable folio was the subject of an article by Antony Lister in 1985 (The Book Collector, spring 1985), in which he gave a census of the seven surviving copies known (this copy being no. 5). Of the seven, five are in institutional collections and one is under Trusteeship at Thoresby. Thoresby House in Nottinghamshire was destroyed by fire in 1745, and it most likely that any remaining copies perished with the library.
The first Duke of Kingston (upon Hull), Evelyn Pierrepont, "was one of the most prominent leaders of the fashionable world of his day" (DNB). A staunch whig and member of the Kit Kat Club, he served at times as keeper of the privy seal and lord president of the council. He was the father of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Upon his death in 1726, his catalogue was not completed, which may account for lack of title and prefatory matter. It was ultimately completed under his executors. Pollard & Ehrman, pp. 274, 278 and Table XXXII.