William Young Ottley (1771-1836) & Peltro William Tomkins (1759-1840)
Engravings of... the Marquis of Stafford's collection of pictures, in London, arranged according to schools, and in chronological order, with remarks on each picture. London: Bensley & Son for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, Cadell & Davies and P.W.Tomkins, [1808-] 1818[-1819]. 4 volumes, imperial 2° (550 x 420mm). Half-titles. 13 hand-coloured engraved plans, 289 hand-coloured engravings, trimmed and mounted in imitation of watercolours on 125 tinted card mounts, all within ink-ruled borders. (Old staining to two mounts, occasional light spotting.) Contemporary green half morocco gilt (one endpaper watermarked 1824), spines in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with repeat decoration built up from various small tools, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
A VERY FINE SET OF THE DELUXE ISSUE OF THIS CONTEMPORARY RECORD OF THE EARL OF STAFFORD'S FAMOUS COLLECTION. This work was issued in three forms: the regular issue in four quarto volumes with uncoloured line engravings at 12 guineas; a large paper issue in four folio volumes with uncoloured proof engravings on india paper at £35 14s. and the present issue which originally appeared, according to Lowndes 'coloured and mounted in four portfolios, 4 vols. imp.folio. Published at £171 14s' (To put this huge price into perspective: in 1821 the Duke of Sussex paid £168 for a Gutenberg Bible). Although the work, particularly in its present form, was an artistic triumph, it was not a success financially. Tomkins bore the heavy financial loss personally and 'he was compelled to obtain an act of parliament authorising him to dispose of the collection of watercolours from which his engravings were executed, together with the unsold impressions of the plates, the whole valued at £150,000' (DNB). Lowndes II,p.858. (4)