LONDON, RANELAGH GARDENS -- Two albums, with manuscript titles "Ranelagh Gardens 1746-1805 A Collection of Views, Portraits, Tickets, Song-Books, Music, Advertisements &c. Chronologically Arranged". [London: ca. 1746-1805, compiled ca. 1910].
2 volumes, 2° (457 x 328mm). 247 leaves (vol.I: 122, vol.II: 125). 2 manuscript titles with inset engraved views, 12pp. of letterpress and manuscript indices, the majority of the 239 remaining leaves with about 900 mounted or inset variously-sized engravings (views, portraits and tickets), newspaper cuttings, music, songs and other ephemeral items. Uniformly bound in early-20th century Parisian green morocco gilt, the covers with elaborate panels incorporating various appropriate symbols, including large tragedy- and comedy-mask tools, the spines in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in two, the others with centrally-placed alternate tragedy and comedy masks, red morocco doublures with elaborate gilded panels, violently-tartaned textured free-endpapers, g.e., by Lofficaux of Paris (corners slightly bumped).
A beautifully presented selection of ephemera relating to an all but forgotten chapter in the history of London. To quote from the anonymous 35pp. pamphlet A Description of Ranelagh Rotundo, and Gardens (London: S.Hooper, 1762) bound into vol.I: "Ranelagh is pleasantly situated on the north bank of the river Thames, in the village of Chelsea, about two miles west of London, and is held in very high esteem by the nobility and gentry, as well for its beauty and elegance, as for being the fashionable resort in the spring and part of the summer evenings of a great concourse of genteel and polite company." The Rotundo, with an internal diameter of 150 feet, was built of wood to the design of William Jones and finished in 1740. Both it and the gardens remained a source of fashionable pleasure for over half a century. The second volume includes the Messrs. Graham 3-day auction Catalogue of all the Valuable Fittings-up and Effects of Ranelagh, finally sold on 25-27th June 1805. (2)