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(BRAY, William, ed.) EVELYN, John.

Memoirs.

Comprising his diary, from 1641 to 1705-6, and a selection of his familiar letters. To which is subjoined, the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas; also between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne, Ambassador to the Court of France, in the time of King Charles I. and the usurpation.

Published: London: Henry Colburn, 1827

Stock code: 107321

Price: £375

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Second edition, significantly expanded from the first. “Bray’s success as a solicitor owed as much to his personality as it did to his energy and professional ability. In 1761 he became a clerk of the board of green cloth through the patronage of John Evelyn of Wotton … [his] interest in history was developed by his legal work and contact with other Surrey antiquaries … Bray’s last major literary labour, in collaboration with William Upcott, was Memoirs Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, published in 1818 in two volumes and enlarged to five volumes in 1827. His transcription of Evelyn’s diary was immediately popular but the edition was flawed by his errors in transcription as well as the alterations he made to the manuscript to improve the story and to omit subjects he considered indelicate. His achievement, however, had been to bring Evelyn’s diary to public attention” (ODNB). “Long dismissed as a virtuoso dabbler in the arts and sciences, Evelyn has now come to be recognized as a scholar and participant in the reception of the new science of the seventeenth century. Over a period of more than half a century his voluminous correspondence reflected and extended the social and scientific interchange of his time” (idem).

5 volumes, octavo. Contemporary tan full calf, spines richly gilt in compartments separated by flat bands, brown morocco labels lettered in gilt to second and fourth, date to feet gilt, three-line border with rosette cornerpieces to covers in blind, marbled edges. Engraved frontispiece to each volume, 4 plates of which 2 folding, and a folding family tree. Light rubbing to extremities, isolated patches of faint mottling to covers, pale foxing to prelims. A very good set, internally crisp and with bright spines.

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