Boydell's Magnificent Edition of MiltonJohn Milton. The Poetical Works of John Milton. With A Life of the Author, by William Hayley. London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co., Shakspeare Printing Office, for John and Josiah Boydell, and George Nicol; From the Types of W. Martin, 1794-1797.
Three large folio volumes. Volume I: [viii], cxxxiii, [1, blank], [1, "The Verse"], [1, blank], 213, [2, blank] pages; Volume II: [iv], 286, [2, blank] pages; Volume III: [iv], 300, [2, blank] pages. Proofs before letters. Illustrated with 36 full-page engravings (12 in each volume as called for in the List of Illustrations in Volume I) by J. P. Simon, R. Earlom, Thos. Kirk, J. Ogborne, B. Smith, and others, after R. Westall. Portrait of the author by Houbraken.
Full red straight-grain morocco elaborately tooled in gilt and blind with gilt spine titles. Spines decoratively tooled in gilt with twelve raised bands. Gilt turn-ins. Fine green endpapers with blind-stamped borders. All edges gilt. Moderate shelf wear. Spines lightly faded. Minor wear to joints. Lightly bumped corners. Minor scattered foxing, as usual, affecting some plates (heavier to plates in Volumes II and III). Some offsetting to pages facing plates and endpapers. Paper crease to pages 3/4 of Volume III. A near fine copy.
This particular copy belonged to Mrs. Mary Nicol, wife of the publisher. Additionally, it bears the bookplates of Alexander Lawson Duncan and an unknown owner whose bookplate in Volume II shows only an interlocking B & C inside the motto "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
"The edition is one of the major achievements of English typography. William Martin was the brother of Baskerville's typecutter, and Bulmer seems to have made use of many of the technical advances, and much of the expertise, of Baskerville. The edition is regarded as subordinate only to the Boydell Shakespeare, which was being published at the same time" (Coleridge 223).
"Boydell's magnificent edition, with plates after Westall...By many thought to be the finest production of Mr. Bulmer's press" (Lowndes, p. 1556).
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