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    History of the "Most Noble Order of the Garter"
    with Fifty-four Fine Engravings
    including the Scarce "Fireworks" Plate

    Elias Ashmole. The Institution, Laws & Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; and A Brief Account of all other Military Orders of Knighthood in England, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Swedeland, Denmark, &c. With the Ensigns of the several Orders. The whole Work Adorned with Sculptures, and furnished with Variety of Matter, relating to Honour and Nobless. The Catalogue of the Knights-Companions and Officers, continued to 1693. London: Printed for Thomas Dring, at the Harrow at the Corner of Chancery-Lane in Fleetstreet, 1693. Second edition (a reissue of the 1672 edition, with the "Catalogue of Knights-Companions and Officers" continued to 1693). Large folio (14.0625 x 9.1875 inches; 358 x 234 mm.). [12], 130, 135-136, 149-720, [102], [1, errata], [1, blank] pages. Pages 81, 88, and 710 misnumbered 85, 84, and 610; numbers 131-134, 137-148 omitted in pagination. Signatures: [pi]2 a4 B-Z4 Aa-Zz4 Aaa-Zzz4 Aaaa-Uuuu4 a-z2 aa-cc2. With the license leaf and title-page from the 1672 first edition bound in at front. Complete with the engraved frontispiece portrait of Charles II by William Sherwin (not present in all copies), and fifty-four fine engravings by Wenceslaus Hollar, including thirty-six plates, sixteen double-page and twenty single-page (including ten plates of coats-of-arms printed back-to-back on five leaves), and eighteen illustrations and vignettes throughout the text, including the vignette head-piece and historiated initial at the beginning of Chapter I. Double-page plates mounted on guards (some plates possibly remounted). Title-page of the 1672 edition printed in red and black.
    Late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century dark blue straight-grain morocco. Covers with the central gilt arms of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington (1753-1829), Stamp 2 (see University of Toronto Libraries British Armorial Bindings Database at, within an outer blind border of back-to-back intersecting drawer-handle tools, between gilt rules, enclosing an inner blind border of floral tools with elaborate gilt-dotted cornerpieces. Neatly rebacked, with original spine laid down, the spine with six double raised bands separated by decorative gilt bands, gilt-lettered in two compartments, the remaining compartments with intricate tooling in gilt and blind. Board edges with gilt diagonals at the corners; turn-ins elaborately tooled in gilt and blind between gilt fillets; drab pastedowns and liners, the pastedowns bordered with three blind fillets; all edges gilt (gilt now dulled). Pink silk ribbon bookmark between pages 548 and 549, with offsetting in the gutter margin.
    An attractive copy with good impressions of the plates.
    Please visit for an extended description of this lot.

    More Information:

    Free endleaves browned at the edges from turn-ins; front free endpaper partially detached.

    The binding is now quite rubbed and worn, with some areas of surface loss on covers. Paper browned and becoming brittle, with tiny edge chips and tears to several leaves, especially at beginning and end; a few short marginal tears or paper flaws, some with repairs. Occasional soiling or staining; large stain in the outer margin, becoming heavier from gathering Nnnn to the end (including the plates of coats-of-arms between pages 708 and 717); intermittent marginal dampstaining. Small rust hole in pages 383/384, with loss of a few letters in two lines on both recto and verso; a few additional mostly marginal rust holes or spots. Frontispiece portrait with paper repair to outer blank margin; a tear down the blank gutter margin, and a short tear into the image from the gutter, both repaired on the verso. A few double-page plates have a short split at lower edge of fold; double-page plate between pages 424 and 425 (the "Fireworks" plate) with two short tears from lower edge, not affecting image, one repaired. A few leaves appear to have splits in the upper margin or headline, some with repairs. Minor worming in the lower gutter margin from gathering Pppp to the end.

    Brunet I, column 524. ESTC R497. Hiler, page 49. Lipperheide 1892. Lowndes, page 80 ("A laborious and highly valuable work, drawn up with great perspicuity and care"). Moule, Bibliotheca Heraldica, pages 184-185 (describing the 1672 first edition). Wing (2nd ed.) A3984. Pennington, Hollar, 464, 578-584, 1072-1075, 1077-1080, 1082-1084, 1986, 2416-2416A, 2424-2428A, 2468, 2589, 2603-2612, 2614-2616, 2619-2620, 2638-2642, 2700.

    The fine engravings by Wenceslaus Hollar depict the insignia of the Order of the Garter, various articles of ceremonial dress, ceremonial feasts and processions, coats-of-arms, ensigns, coins and medals, the fireworks display given by Charles XI of Sweden, and a series of impressive views of Windsor Castle (including an aerial view) and St. George's Chapel, which was the chapel of the Order of the Garter.

    "From the mid-1650s [astrologer and antiquary Elias Ashmole (1617-1692)] became increasingly concerned with antiquarianism and especially with heraldry, interests for which before this date there is little evidence. This probably owed at least something to the fact that about 1655 Ashmole met the great antiquary William Dugdale, with whom he established a close relationship...Ashmole shared with Dugdale an interest in heraldry, but his own special antiquarian enthusiasm was for the history of the Order of the Garter. Not only was this the oldest chivalric order in Europe, it was also a quintessentially royalist cult, and Ashmole's championship of it in the interregnum might be seen as a deliberate espousal of monarchist values in defiance of the prevailing republican regime...Much of Ashmole's dense archival research for the project was done in the late 1650s-research manifesting an appreciation of the significance of documentary sources that undoubtedly owed much to Dugdale. In these same years Ashmole also spent much time (some of it with Dugdale) travelling around the country making 'church notes' on coats of arms and epitaphs; he thereby served an apprenticeship in heraldry which made him rapidly expert on the rules and technicalities of pedigrees and descents...Ashmole's other chief concern in the years following the Restoration was with the revival of the Order of the Garter. His extensive researches during the later years of the interregnum made him an obvious candidate for consultation on the procedural details of the lavish Garter processions mounted after the Restoration. He also drafted the royal warrant for the replacement of Garter plate in the early 1660s, and, though his application in 1660 to become official historiographer of the order came to nothing, he continued to work on his definitive history of the order. This finally appeared in 1672 as The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a lavish folio densely packed with detail about the history and personnel of the order, and attractively illustrated with plates by Wenceslaus Hollar. On the book's appearance Ashmole was warmly commended by the duke of York, while copies which he sent to foreign members of the order-complete with specially printed personal dedications-brought him gratifying compliments: the king of Denmark, the elector of Brandenburg, and the Elector Palatine all presented him with gold insignia, which are preserved at the Ashmolean Museum" (Michael Hunter, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online).

    "Ashmole's principal work is his 'Institution, Laws, and Ceremonies of the Order of the Garter,' London, 1672, one of those books which exhaust the subject of which they treat, and leave scope only for supplements. The edition of 1693 is a mere reprint; but in 1715 a new edition was published under the title of 'The History of the Order of the Garter,' with a continuation by T. Walker" (Leslie Stephen, in D.N.B.).

    This binding is a "typical London binding of about 1811 in a style that was introduced by the numerous German binders who were working in London during the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth...the fashion was probably set by John Baumgarten who was in London by 1770. He was followed by Christian Kalthoeber, who worked with him and who certainly produced this type of binding...The German-born binders included Staggemeier and Welcher who were at one time in partnership; the Hering family, in business for over fifty years in London; John Bohn, whose son was to be one of the most famous London publishers of the middle of the nineteenth century; and Johann Ludwig, whose son, under his anglicised name of Charles Lewis, was the most famous London binder of the 1820's and 1830's" (Howard M. Nixon, British Bookbindings Presented by Kenneth H. Oldaker to the Chapter Library of Westminster Abbey, 33 (page 78)).

    It is possible that this binding, though unsigned, is by John Bohn, with its "blind-tooled borders with gilt-dotted corners, accompanied by drab endpapers" (Howard M. Nixon, Five Centuries of English Bookbinding, 82). The tools used are similar to those used by John Bohn (in particular, the eight-pointed star and roundel tools in the gilt-dotted cornerpieces on the covers and on the turn-ins).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 906

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