"No one hath seen beauty in its highest lustre who hath never seen it in distress."Henry Fielding. The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1749. First edition, first issue. One of a first printing run of only 2,000 copies with errata leaf in Volume I, the errata uncorrected, and all cancels and final blanks (K12 in Volume I and R12 in Volume III) as noted in Rothschild 850.
Bound in contemporary mottled calf, double gilt ruled boards, five raised spine bands with gilt stamped leather title labels and gilt stamped volume numbers in compartments. Each volume housed in a quarter leather over cloth custom book-style slipcase with chemise. Armorial bookplate of "Ambrose Isted [?]" on verso of title pages.
Bindings rubbed and scuffed with minor surface leather losses, cracked joints, crazing and vertical surface cracks to backstrips, title labels chipped. Cracked hinges, textblocks lightly cockled, front free endpaper of volume one loose. Faint bleedthrough and off-set from bookplate on title page and page facing plate. Some errata noted on slip but not fixed in text corrected by hand in pencil and ink. Volume 2 with a small closed tear in text B4. Volume 5 with small paper lift on page 1 from bookplate adhesive, minor loss to text. Volume 6 with signatures F and G slightly sprung. Pages with light edge wear, creases, small corner bends, minor tears, foxing, few smudges, minor soiling or stains. Overall a very good set.
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