17 June 2003
YOUNG, John (1755-1825). A Series of Portraits of the Emperors of Turkey from the Foundation of the Monarchy to the Year 1815. London: Printed by William Bulmer and Co., 1815.
2o (555 x 413 mm). Engraved title in French and 30 mezzotint portrait plates PRINTED IN COLORS AND FINISHED BY HAND (pencilled marginalia on 12 plates, last five plates with some pale marginal dampstaining, heavier of the final two, occasional light staining, some foxing, mostly affecting margins). English and French titles (see note below). Contemporary red half morocco (defective). Provenance: Jay Gould (1836-1892), American financier (Lyndhurst bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, second state title with reference to Mahmoud II. The title appeared in two states: the first giving a terminal date of 1808; the second giving a terminal date of 1815 (as here) and including a reference to Mahmoud II. Copies are found with one or other of the titles, and some also contain subtitles, which this does not.
ONE OF THE GREATEST ILLUSTRATED WORKS ON THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE. The very fine mezzotint engravings are after a Greek peasant "who displayed such proofs of natural talent as to enduce the Emperor Selim to patronise him" (Preface). The Preface further relates that the originals arrived in England in 1806 and that the work was halted on the death of Selim. Three years later, production continued when Young was given permission to publish the plates on his own behalf in order to recoup himself for his labor. The first issue concluded at 1808, and after Mahmoud II became Sultan in that year he gave Young permission to further publication. The final two plates appeared after this time. Abbey Travel 372; Blackmer 1863 (first issue); Brunet V:1510; Lipperheide 1429; Tooley 516.
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