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WITHER, George.

[Manuscript facsimile:] Extracts from a Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne,

Quickened with Metrical Illustrations; and disposed into Lotteries both Morall and Divine that Instruction, and God Counsell, may be furthered by an Honest and Pleasant Recreation. Revised and Illuminated.

Published: 1835

Stock code: 91346

Price: £1,250

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An early Victorian manuscript facsimile reproducing 27 entries and their illustrations taken from George Wither’s famous emblem book, which was originally published in 1635. Although the illustrations are based on the original engravings by Dutch engraver Crispin de Passe they nonetheless convey their author’s artistic originality through the use of bold colours and the addition of detailed borders. “In 1634 the London publisher Henry Taunton employed Wither to write the verses for engravings of Crispin de Passe which he had purchased and which originally appeared in Gabriel Rollenhagen’s Emblems. Wither’s volume, A Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne, was published in 1635 with multiple dedications (…). Wither’s treatment of the emblems is very different from that of Rollenhagen and characteristic of his Protestant plain style. The emblem book provides him with an opportunity to consider the relationship between form and substance or inner truth, attempting in his lengthy verses to tease out ‘Verbal conceites’ through ‘plaine Invention’ (Letter to the reader, A preposition to this frontispiece)” (ODNB). With a presentation inscription to the front free endpaper verso by the copyist, “JH”, dated 1835. A fascinating 19th-century illuminated manuscript of a 17th-century text.

Octavo (218 x 175 mm). Contemporary brown full levant morocco binding, titles to spine gilt, decorations to boards and spine in blind, metal clasps, all edges gilt. Manuscript facsimile in black and gold ink, historiated capitals and tailpieces, 28 full-page original watercolour and ink paintings with gilt embellishments, including frontispiece portrait of George Wither. Joints expertly repaired, boards rubbed and scuffed, slight offsetting to a few tissue guards, occasional minor blemishes. An excellent copy.

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