An Attractive Set Uniformly Bound, and Including First Editions of The Stones of Venice and The Seven Lamps of ArchitectureJohn Ruskin. The Seven Lamps of Architecture. ... With Illustrations, Drawn and Etched by the Author. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1849.
First edition. Large octavo (9.875 x 6.75 inches; 254 x 171 mm.). Complete with half-title, fourteen lithographic plates after Ruskin's original sketches, publisher's ads, and the errata slip bound before leaf a1.
John Ruskin. The Stones of Venice. ... With Illustrations Drawn by the Author. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1851.
First edition. Three large octavo volumes (10.0625 x 6.75 inches; 256 x 171 mm.). All half-titles present. Complete with fifty-three engraved plates after Ruskin's original sketches, many with contemporary hand coloring, and publisher's ads.
John Ruskin. Modern Painters. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1851-1860.
First editions of volumes 3, 4, and 5; best editions of volumes 1 and 2. Five large octavo volumes (10.0625 x 6.75 inches; 256 x 171 mm.). All half-titles present. Complete with publisher's ads, three steel-engraved frontispieces, eighty-four steel-engraved plates, and eight wood-engraved plates after Ruskin's original sketches. Plate 7 with contemporary hand coloring highlighted with gold.
Together nine volumes uniformly bound by Rivière & Son in sumptuous full dark brown morocco. Covers with gilt triple fillet borders, spines elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five raised bands, gilt board edges, gilt inner dentelles, doublures comprising publisher's original brown and green cloth (variously blocked in blind and gilt), dark blue glossy free endpapers, top edge gilt. From the library of Robert Treat Paine II, with his printed paper bookplate affixed to the recto of the front free endpapers. Four instances of an unobtrusive, contemporary owner's inscription ("William Simpson") in upper outer corner of preliminary leaves in Volumes I, II, III, and IV of Modern Painters. Except for some minor shelf wear to extremities and a few instances of subtle light foxing, a fine set.
An exceptional set of Ruskin's three most important contributions to art history and criticism (and indeed, to the canon of English literature), beautifully bound by Riviere & Son in appropriately stunning bindings of gilt morocco. In addition to Ruskin's singular style, penetrating analyses, and informed criticism, the books are remarkably attractive productions, with excellent typography and expertly engraved plates after Ruskin's original sketches. This synthesis resulted in the volumes being highly respected and influential in their time. As a contemporary reviewer of Modern Painters had it, "[T]hese five volumes contain the most valuable contributions to art-literature the language can show ... they contain worlds of thought, imagination, and knowledge such as no other writer can educe ... It is impossible but that Art should be the better for them" (quoted in Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature (London: Trubner & Co., 1870); p. 1195); one could be confident in making similar assessments about the composition of Seven Books and Stones of Venice and their relation to the fields of architecture and aesthetics, respectively.
Grolier, 100 English, 92 (The Stones of Venice).
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