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Book Details

DIBDIN (Thomas Frognall). A Bibliographical Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany.1821

London: Printed for the Author by W. Bulmer and W. Nicol at the Shakspeare Press, First edition, 3 vols., bound in 4, 4to (279 x 185 mm), ONE OF 100 COPIES PRINTED ON THICK AND LARGE PAPER WITH EXTRA PLATES, [4], xxv, [7], 462,lxxix, [1]; [2], 555, [1]; [2], 298; [2], 299-622, lxiipp., with the author's wood-engraved device on each title-page, a wood engraving of the elaborately-quartered coat of arms of the Roxburghe Club on the dedication page, 85 engraved plates ((including the private plate of 'Diana de Poictiers' in vol. 2, which was apparently destroyed after only 50 copies had been printed, and a proof of the 'Prater' plate in vol. 3), 62 illustrations printed on fine and thin "India" paper and mounted on the text leaves, 55 other illustrations in the text, with the additional sixty engraved plates on 52 leaves from Lewis' Series of Groups bound in at the appropriate places as designated by Lewis in his 'Directions to the binder', contemporary notes in pencil to several endpapers and a few within the text, text and plates have staining of varying degrees, pale stain to many lower margins, a little damage to endpapers where bookplates have been removed, full red hard grain red morocco,,covers waterstained, spines lettered in gilt, all edges gilt. Unfortunately this handsome large paper copy has suffered from water damage sometime in the past, additional photographs are available upon request. This set with the additional set of etchings on india paper by George Lewis, of a classic work of the utmost importance for its wealth of eye-witness information and anecdotes about printed books, manuscripts, buildings, other artefacts and people, both from past centuries and from the author's own day, for the extraordinary collection of illustrations, mostly drawn during the tour itself, and finally as a sumptuous piece of book production. As soon as the book appeared, leading scholars derided Dibdin for his lack of scholarship, especially concerning early manuscripts and printed books. But one must distinguish between the extensive and extremely useful information about things and people Dibdin saw during his 1818 tour, and his own interpretations and conclusions, which now serve only as a window to the attitudes of the time. Dibdin's enthusiasm, readable style and entertaining anecdotes, moreover, caught the mood of his age, making the book extremely popular and influential. Lewis' A Series of Groups... was intended to accompany Dibdin's Tour but was rejected by Dibdin as unworthy of his book. Lewis, most perturbed, issued them at his own expense and presented his case in the eight-page Advertisement which was separately printed. Jackson 48; 56; 56n: Windle & Pippin A38a; A44; D13.

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