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[GRIMALDI, Stacey.]

A Suit of Armour for Youth.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Published by the Proprietor, 1824

Stock Code: 131200

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition of this allegorical "Suit of Armour" produced for the edification of Britain's youth and an early example of this type of "moveable" book with flaps that could be lifted, for which there was a vogue in the 1820s. The first of these was The Toilet (1820), which focused on the toilet articles from a lady's dressing-table, with illustrations by the miniaturist William Grimaldi, father of Stacey. "The Toilet was so successful that the Grimaldis followed it with a similar book for boys, A Suit of Armour for Youth (1824), and it was imitated by other artists and publishers" (Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, 2015, p. 582).
In this delightful little book each flap carries an engraving of a particular piece of knightly equipment (helmet, lance, spurs, etc.) which when lifted reveals a representative scene (or "virtue"), such as loyalty, wisdom, prudence. Each is accompanied by an historical gloss on both the chivalric equipment and the virtue, as well as some choice quotations. The antiquary and genealogist Stacey Grimaldi (1790-1863) was of Genoese descent, and "for over forty years... practised as a solicitor in the City of London. He was eminent as a record lawyer and was engaged in several important record trials and peerage cases" (ODNB). He had an extensive library "was generous in lending books, sharing genealogical information, and making searches for others among the records; he corresponded with a wide range of fellow antiquaries and genealogists".
In his book Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice and the Great War, American medievalist Allen J. Framtzen writes "For many nineteenth-century writers... medieval armour was something that modern men could grow into. Literalizing this process is Stacey Grimaldi's book for boys, A Suit of Armour for Youth, published in 1824... this is a conduct book, a kind of text that flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and that invoked chivalry as a guide to the behaviour of the wellborn. Like manuals of chivalry, many conduct books were aimed at young readers".

Confused? Read our glossary


Duoedcimo (187 x 114 mm). Late 19th century calf, red morocco label, gilt floral motifs to spine, double gilt fillet and blind trefoil-roll border to covers, richly gilt turn-ins, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Original printed wrappers bound in at rear.


Engraved frontispiece by Cosmo Armstrong after William Grimaldi, 11 engraved plates each with a flap bearing an engraved design, by Armstrong or R. L. Wright.


Spine a little darkened with minor wear at ends, short split at foot of front joint. An attractive copy.


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