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    James E. Doyle. A Chronicle of England B.C. 55 - A.D. 1485. Written and Illustrated by James E. Doyle. The Designs Engraved and Printed in Colours by Edmund Evans. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1864.

    First edition (10.25 x 7.75 inches; 260 x 197 mm.). viii, 462 pp. With eighty-one intertextual wood-engravings printed in color. Title printed in red and black.

    Late nineteenth century half crimson morocco over red cloth by Root & Son (stamp signed In ink on front free endpaper verso), spine lettered and tooled in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, green endpaper, top edge gilt. Minor shelf wear to board edges and extremities, else a very good, clean and bright copy.

    A handsome copy of this stunningly executed milestone in color printing. To reproduce the myriad tones in Doyle's eighty-one original watercolor depictions of scenes from English history, in addition to carving eighty-one key blocks, Evans engraved one woodblock per color -- sometimes carving up to ten blocks per image. The result is one of the most carefully executed and beautifully printed books produced in Victorian England, as well as "a landmark as the first printed book with original work printed in colour expressly designed for the original text" (Muir).

    The "reason for [the] book's continuing appeal ... [are its] bright and fresh engravings, printed in as many as ten colors ... dropped into the text about once every six pages" (Ray).

    McLean, Victorian Book Design & Colour Printing, pp. 182-4. Percy H. Muir, Victorian Illustrated Books, p. 158. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914, 241.

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    October, 2008
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