LAKING, Guy Francis.

A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries.

With an introduction by the Baron de Cosson; [bound with:] Francis Henry Cripps-Day, A Record of Armour Sales 1881-1924.

London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1920-25 Stock Code: 136722
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A monumental survey of European armour

First edition of each volume of Laking's monumental survey of the history of European armour, profusely illustrated, and here handsomely bound, together with the supplementary volume, Cripps-Day's index of armour auction results. The antiquary Sir Guy Francis Laking (1875-1919) grew up under the shadow of royalty, with his father serving as physician to Queen Victoria and her two successors, and studied antiques and art from an early age. Initially an art advisor at Christie's, Laking became internationally recognized as a leading expert on arms and armour while still a young man, and in 1900 was appointed honourary inspector of the armouries at the Wallace Collection, then recently bequeathed to the nation. In 1902 Edward VII created the post of keeper of the king's armoury at Windsor especially for him. In 1911 he became the first keeper and secretary at the London Museum, the greatest holder of that office, and essentially the museum's founder. "While organizing the new museum, Laking was also involved in, among other things, gathering material for what was to be the other achievement for which he will be most remembered: his magnum opus, A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries. It was unfinished at his death - he lived only to see an advance copy of the first volume - and was completed by his literary executor, F. H. Cripps-Day. It remains the largest and most fully illustrated survey of its subject ever published" (ODNB).

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Together 6 volumes bound in 3, large quarto (313 x 251 mm). Contemporary orange morocco by Worrall of Birmingham, spines lettered in gilt and richly gilt to compartments, covers with concentric gilt ruled panels enclosing gilt crest and motto "Forte et Fidele", gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed.


With 1,805 black and white illustrations, and a further 210 similar illustrations in the Cripps-Day volume.


Bookplate of Trevor Rostron to front pastedowns, bookseller's ticket of Thomas Heneage to front blank of vol. I. A few instances of light soiling to contents but generally clean. A fine copy.


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