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English literature pre-1900

Rare first editions, signed and inscribed copies, deluxe and collectible editions of books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to poetry, novels, short stories, plays, and other original works written in the English language and published before 1900, including literature in English from Scotland, Wales, and the whole of Ireland, as well as literature in English from countries of the former British Empire, including the United States.

Showing items 1-60 of 648

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  1. 108972
    First illustrated edition in English, and the first UK edition, rare first issue with the title page dated 1873. This Sampson Low edition was published in November 1873, but the overwhelming majority of copies have the title dated 1874, in line with usual contemporary practice for books published for the Christmas market.... Learn More
    £7,500

    Stock Code: 108972

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  2. 133076detail
    Limited editions, the Plays number 826 of 1,950 copies, the Poems number 359 of 1,500 copies signed by the book designer Bruce Rogers. Published for subscribers to The Limited Editions Club of New York, this handsomely produced edition of Shakespeare's plays and poetry includes work by some of the most celebrated book illustrators... Learn More
    £1,750

    Stock Code: 133076

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  3. The War of the Worlds.
    First edition, first issue, with the 16-page publisher's catalogue at the end, dated 1897 and headed by New Letters of Napoleon I. The War of the Worlds was originally printed as a serial in Pearson's magazine from April to December 1897. Learn More
    £2,500

    Stock Code: 111454

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  4. 132935
    First Boydell edition. This lavish edition was the brainchild of John Boydell (1720-1804), who had been responsible for the publication in mezzotint of some of the most impressive paintings of the period. He and his nephew Josiah Boydell conceived this set, with typography by Bulmer and paper by Whatman, to be embellished... Learn More
    £8,750

    Stock Code: 132935

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  5. 118722comp
    First edition, superb presentation copy to a fellow poet, with an original unpublished manuscript poem laid-in. This set is inscribed by Browning in each volume to Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895), the well-connected Victorian poet and bibliophile who was well-acquainted with the likes of Arnold, Carlyle, Dickens, Eliot,... Learn More
    £12,500

    Stock Code: 118722

    signed

    Reserve

  6. 131206
    First Bentley edition in an uncommon contemporary binding. This is the third edition overall, and the first English edition to be illustrated. In 1832-3 Richard Bentley bought the copyright to all Austen's novels, which had not been reissued since 1818, to include them in his Standard Novels series, of which this is no.... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 131206

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  7. 131209

    Sense and Sensibility.

    London: 1833 [but 1832]

    First Bentley edition in an uncommon contemporary binding. This is the third edition overall (pre-dating the first American by a few months), and the first English edition to be illustrated. In 1832-3 Richard Bentley bought the copyright to all Austen's novels, which had not been reissued since 1818, to include them in his... Learn More
    £2,000

    Stock Code: 131209

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  8. 131022

    Poems.

    London: 1881

    First edition, first issue. One of only 250 copies for the first issue; 750 copies were printed in total, but the remaining 500 copies were equally split between the second and third issues, with new title pages stating second and third editions. Publisher's presentation copy, with the title page stamped "with the publisher's... Learn More
    £3,000

    Stock Code: 131022

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  9. 130774
    First edition thus, limited issue, number 23 of 20 copies (numbers 6-25) printed on handmade paper by the Chiswick Press and bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in red morocco, from a total run of 250 copies. Shelley's elegy for Keats, first published in 1821 (the year of Keats's death) is considered among the finest of Shelley's... Learn More
    £750

    Stock Code: 130774

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  10. 132842
    First edition, sole impression, of this scarce anthology of German and Italian poetry translated into English by noted Victorian fantasy writer George MacDonald, including the Spiritual Songs of Novalis. Also presented are English renditions of Luther, Schiller, Goethe, Heine, Petrarch, Milton (from his Italian), and others.... Learn More
    £875

    Stock Code: 132842

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  11. 62939
    First edition in book form of Hardy's great novel of the Napoleonic war, written to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Trafalgar. Purdy notes that the novel was published in an edition of 1,000 copies and remarks that the three-line border "is less common than the 2-rule binding". The story was first published in slightly... Learn More
    £30,000

    Stock Code: 62939

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  12. 132751
    First edition thus, one of 300 copies, inscribed to Jane Morris on the blank preceding the title, "To Mrs. Morris from The Editor", and probably bound for presentation. Ouseley's translation was originally published in 1800 but had become rare by the 1880s and the Orcadian scholar Clouston considered it worth reprinting.... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 132751

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  13. 132331
    Jane Austen's novels..."> First Clarendon edition, large paper edition, limited to 1,000 sets, of which 950 were for sale, presentation copy (and therefore presumably one of the 50 copies not for sale), inscribed by the editor in the first volume to his youngest son, "Michael Edward Chapman, from his father, the editor".
    Jane Austen's novels... Learn More
    £2,500

    Stock Code: 132331

    signed

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  14. 132087comp
    First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the vol. I half-title, "Mrs. Lombard, from her old friend, H. James, Paris. Nov. 3d 1879". The Lombards were from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and friends of the James family. Mrs Lombard (born Harriet H Jones, 1821-1884) often travelled in Europe with her daughters... Learn More
    £12,500

    Stock Code: 132087

    signed

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  15. 131984
    First edition of these two "scrupulous and forward-looking" (ODNB) editions, the first appearance of each play in a single volume and with textual variants in footnotes. The editor was Charles Jennens (1700/011773), the enormously wealthy connoisseur, patron, and librettist who is perhaps best known for his patronage and... Learn More
    £2,500

    Stock Code: 131984

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  16. 128076
    First edition, one of 1,000 copies printed. Tess proved an immediate success and a second issue of 500 copies was published in February the following year; in addition to the dates (1891) on the verso of the title-pages, the first issue can be distinguished by a number of textual points, including: vol. I, p. v, line 12,... Learn More
    £2,700

    Stock Code: 128076

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  17. 76687
    First and only edition, one of 5,000 copies printed of this facsimile of the first draft of Alice's Adventures in the author's hand (about 12,700 words compared to more than 26,700 in the published version), with his own illustrations, the later issue with white endpapers, apparently consisting of remainder sheets put into... Learn More
    £1,750

    Stock Code: 76687

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  18. 131659comp

    The Ambassadors.

    New York & London: 1904

    Mary Jameson Judah was an accomplished hostess, giving dinners..."> First US edition, second printing (dated a year after the first), presentation copy, inscribed by the author to the American writer Mary Jameson Judah, "For Mary Jameson Judah in remembrance of March 16th and 17th 1905. Henry James", on the front free endpaper.
    Mary Jameson Judah was an accomplished hostess, giving dinners... Learn More
    £7,500

    Stock Code: 131659

    signed

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  19. 131658comp
    First US edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author in the month of publication, "To Lucy Clifford, Henry James, Oct: 1898", on the front pastedown; one of 2,250 copies. Clifford was one of James's oldest and most cherished London friends. She had lost her husband, one of the greatest mathematicians of the Victorian... Learn More
    £15,000

    Stock Code: 131658

    signed

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  20. 131012
    First edition, the London issue (following the unobtainable Bristol issue of the same year, listed by Healey in 13 copies, of which none are thought to remain in private hands), this copy in a finely decorated and unrestored contemporary binding.
    This is the first edition, and the earliest obtainable issue, of the collection... Learn More
    £11,000

    Stock Code: 131012

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  21. 132657
    First complete and first illustrated edition, including Thomas Birch's Life; Spenser's letter to Walter Raleigh; commendatory verses; numerous dedicatory verses by Spenser; an exact collation of the two original editions of 1590 and 1596 which combine to give the first complete text in one edition including the fragment... Learn More
    £2,250

    Stock Code: 132657

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  22. 132630
    First edition, scarce thus in an unrestored contemporary binding, of Doré & Jerrold's beautiful and influential "Pilgrimage" around the great metropolis of 19th-century London, Doré's chiaroscuro engravings reflecting the closeness and contrast of London's social classes. It was this aspect in particular that gained the... Learn More
    £2,000

    Stock Code: 132630

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  23. 132158
    First edition of this notoriously scathing review of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, appearing in this volume of The Quarterly Review and penned by John Wilson Croker (1780-1857), a serial foe to all young Romantics and Jacobins, who only a few month later savaged, no less notoriously, Keats's Endymion, and... Learn More
    £2,000

    Stock Code: 132158

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  24. 127590
    A most attractive copy of Defoe's fabricated travel narrative, first published in 1724, in which an "unnamed English captain-entrepreneur... leads three ships in a trading (and occasional privateering) circumnavigation that also includes encounters with native peoples, sometimes violent but more peaceable and profitable"... Learn More
    £250

    Stock Code: 127590

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  25. 122160comp
    Signed limited edition, number 571 of 750 copies signed by the artist. Learn More
    £3,500

    Stock Code: 122160

    signed

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  26. 121961comp
    First edition, second printing with title page erroneously stating "Second Edition". This copy is inscribed by the author's mother, Margaret Isabella Stevenson, "Norman Tennant, with love from M. I. Stevenson May 1886". Tennant's ownership stamp is found below. Margaret was also the subject of a poem in this collection,... Learn More
    £1,750

    Stock Code: 121961

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  27. 132591
    First edition thus, an attractive version of "probably the single most influential work of prose in the Persian tradition" (Encyclopaedia Iranica). "The school-boy lisps out his first lessons in it; the man of learning quotes it; and a vast number of its expressions have become proverbial". Eastwick, an orientalist and diplomat... Learn More
    £350

    Stock Code: 132591

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  28. 131682
    Fourth quarto edition of Macbeth, adapted by William Davenant; Davenant's version of Macbeth had first appeared in 1674 (printed twice in that year). As was common practice with play texts in the 17th century, Macbeth is here bound up with 11 other popular plays of that era, allowing it to be seen in its contemporary context.... Learn More
    £15,000

    Stock Code: 131682

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  29. 125578
    First Dublin edition, the fourth overall, first published in London in 1788. With two pleasing female gift inscriptions, the first on the half-title dated 1792 from Elizabeth Pim to Anne Jackson, who in turn re-presented the book half a century later in 1842 to her niece Elizabeth Garrat.
    Original Stories was Mary Wollstonecraft's... Learn More
    £2,750

    Stock Code: 125578

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  30. 102817
    First edition, possibly Jane Austen's first appearance in print. This scarce periodical was written by James and Henry Austen while they were at Oxford. Some scholars have suggested that in issue number 9, the letter signed "Sophia Sentiment" was the work of their sister Jane when she was 14. Although Gilson does not include... Learn More
    £5,000

    Stock Code: 102817

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  31. 132573comp
    First edition thus, revised and expanded from The Early Italian Poets (1861), presentation copy from the author, inscribed on the title page, "To Moncure D. Conway from his friend DG Rossetti, 1875". A significant association: Conway (1832-1907) was an American reformer, prominent Unitarian minister, and author who left... Learn More
    £3,250

    Stock Code: 132573

    signed

    Reserve

  32. 132450
    First edition. Following the failure of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Walden was not a runaway success. The edition of 2,000 took five years to sell through, but it was from the very first an immensely influential text, and remains so today: "For almost a hundred years an inspiration to nature... Learn More
    £8,500

    Stock Code: 132450

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  33. 130070
    First pirated edition of Tennyson's suppressed poems, taken from the Poems, Chiefly Lyrical of 1830 and the Poems of 1833, and printed by J. Dykes Campbell and sold by the bookseller John Camden Hotten. Tennyson took legal action, obtained an injunction to prevent its sale, and extracted an apology and 100 damages from Hotten.... Learn More
    £300

    Stock Code: 130070

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  34. 130165
    With only..."> First edition, presentation copy from John James Ruskin, the father of John Ruskin, inscribed on the front free endpaper "To Emma Edwardes: From the Author's Father with his Kindest Regards. 3. February 1851". The recipient, Emma Edwardes, was the stepdaughter of John James Ruskin's physician, Dr. George Grant.
    With only... Learn More
    £3,750

    Stock Code: 130165

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  35. 130288
    First edition of the author's first book, the publication of which he funded himself. Though he later disowned the work, it was praised at the time by both Tennyson and Charles Kingsley. Learn More
    £825

    Stock Code: 130288

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  36. 41257
    £250

    Stock Code: 41257

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  37. 113612
    A one shilling subscription card, this being number 659, to fund the staging of the workmen's memorial to Shakespeare. The card was designed by George Cruikshank, and engraved by the Dalziel brothers. Hosted by the English actor and theatre manager Samuel Phelps (1804-1878), the memorial was an attempt for a great workingman's... Learn More
    £275

    Stock Code: 113612

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  38. 129491
    First Rockwell Kent trade edition, first printing. Kent's imagining of Melville's classic, first published the same year by the Lakeside Press of Chicago in a three-volume limited edition, has been hailed as a masterpiece of 20th-century book illustration and credited with reviving public interest in a sublime but difficult... Learn More
    £1,500

    Stock Code: 129491

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  39. 125728
    First edition, uncommon complete as here, of this charming set of instructive tales for children by the French bluestocking Alida de Savignac (1790-1847). Volume I comprises three stories, each bound separately: La Petite Malade imaginaire; Juliette à Rome, ou les histoires du temps passé; and Camille. Volume II is divided... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 125728

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  40. 130392
    An elaborate and remarkable feat of extra-illustration, combining over 100 inserted plates together with 14 autograph letters from the great and good of the Victorian era, including a letter from Queen Victoria herself, Princes Albert and Leopold, Lord Russell, and the author himself (who writes to declare his name pronounced... Learn More
    £1,500

    Stock Code: 130392

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  41. 132446
    A particularly striking edition of Shakespeare, reproducing the text and orthography of the first folio, lavishly bound and illustrated. This is the special issue bound in morocco with the illustrations on mounted India paper, and was priced at a substantial five guineas a volume. An issue in cloth without the India-paper... Learn More
    £875

    Stock Code: 132446

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  42. 132444
    First English edition, first issue, of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, here named Poems, which "gave Whitman his first British readership" (ODNB). Whitman made several revisions to the poems for this edition, and unusually allowed his work to be edited. However, the editor William Michael Rossetti felt that much of Whitman's... Learn More
    £875

    Stock Code: 132444

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  43. 132401
    A handsomely bound copy of Shakespeare's collected plays and poetry. Learn More
    £300

    Stock Code: 132401

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  44. 132340
    A handsome Cosway-style binding. These elaborate bindings, named after the famous Regency miniaturist Richard Cosway, were a style initially executed by Riviere & Son for Henry Sotheran booksellers, with miniatures by Caroline Billin Curry mounted under glass on the cover. The exquisite bindings were soon imitated by many... Learn More
    £5,000

    Stock Code: 132340

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  45. 131992
    A substantial collection of approximately 120 plays printed in the 1770s and 1780s, including 20 plays by Shakespeare, all printed for or sold by Joseph Wenman of Fleet Street, part of his Theatrical Library (1776-81). The collections includes works from the Elizabethan period to contemporary writers: other playwrights include... Learn More
    £2,000

    Stock Code: 131992

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  46. 127561
    First edition, first impression. A scholarly edition of the Middle English alliterative romance, the text is reproduced from the original 14th-century manuscript (now held as part of the Cotton Library at the British Library) with copious notes, details and glossaries by Tolkien and Gordon. Learn More
    £300

    Stock Code: 127561

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  47. 132240
    First edition of Ardizzone's rendering of Dickens's classic novel, handsomely bound. The Heritage Press reprinted classic volumes in a deluxe, well-illustrated format, as here. Ardizzone, predominantly a children's illustrator, was an unusual choice to illustrate Dickens's tale of ruined lives, yet offers a welcome interpretation... Learn More
    £375

    Stock Code: 132240

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  48. 127769
    First edition in English, translated by the celebrated bluestocking Helen Maria Williams (1759-1827) "amidst the horrors of Robespierre's tyranny", as she explains colourfully in her Preface; it became "the standard English edition well into the nineteenth century" (Deborah Kennedy, Helen Maria Williams and the Age of Revolution,... Learn More
    £1,250

    Stock Code: 127769

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  49. 130554
    First edition in book-form, in the original publisher's deluxe binding. Chapman and Hall issued Pickwick Papers in cloth for 21s., half-morocco for 24s. 6d., and full morocco with gilt edges for 26s. 6d. (Patton, p. 326). Variant deluxe publisher's bindings are known, including states in green morocco. Dickens's bibliographers... Learn More
    £4,500

    Stock Code: 130554

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  50. 122901
    First edition of Porter's first acknowledged novel, a significant work that "ranks with Mrs Radcliffe's Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne as a super-rarity among Gothic Romantic novels" (Sadleir 1972). The first edition is held by only one of the six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland (the National Library... Learn More
    £19,750

    Stock Code: 122901

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  51. 132139detail
    First editions, early issues, of all volumes except Volume III, which is a second edition, and Volume XI, which is bound without advertisements. Lasner notes that although it is nearly impossible to determine the exact issue of a given set of The Yellow Book, "no volume without the advertisements can be a true first edition"... Learn More
    £1,500

    Stock Code: 132139

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  52. 125497
    First edition of the third novel by Lady Caroline Lamb, again published anonymously, printed by her friend John Murray, formerly Byron's publisher, and dedicated to the Irish intellectual Lydia White. The titular antihero is born in Georgia and sold into bondage. He boards a privateer, murders the captain, and declares himself... Learn More
    £2,500

    Stock Code: 125497

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  53. 130819
    First edition of all three works. Miscellaneous Poems includes the first printing of "To his Coy Mistress" and "The Garden". Published a couple of years after Marvell's death, the volume made his poetic talents known to a general readership who would have known him, if at all, only from his commendatory verses to the second... Learn More
    £12,500

    Stock Code: 130819

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  54. 130523
    First edition, second issue with "Stave One" as the first chapter heading and the text uncorrected. A Christmas Carol was an instant success, reportedly selling all 6,000 copies of the first edition on the first day of publication, and Dickens went on to write four more small festive books for each successive Christmas (the... Learn More
    £4,500

    Stock Code: 130523

    Reserve

  55. 114151
    First US edition, the second overall. The first edition, published by Thomas Cautley Newby in London, was rushed into the shops on 4 December 1847 to capitalise on the unexpected success of Jane Eyre, which was published by Newby's rivals, Smith, Elder & Company, earlier the same year. Wuthering Heights,... Learn More
    £8,500

    Stock Code: 114151

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  56. 131621
    First and sole edition, signed limited issue, number 17 of 117 copies signed by the printer in pink. Stewart (1891-1955) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, before joining the Santa Fe Art Colony in 1925, and working with the WPA Artist Collective in the 1930s. She and her sister, Margretta Dietrich (a suffragette... Learn More
    £3,750

    Stock Code: 131621

    signed

    Reserve

  57. 131573

    Scenes of Clerical Life.

    Edinburgh and London: 1858

    First edition in book form of George Eliot's first published work of fiction, which collects three short stories previously serialized in Blackwood's Magazine from January to November 1857. The tales, centering around three provincial clergymen, focus less on theological issues than on the ethical problems they face in their... Learn More
    £19,500

    Stock Code: 131573

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  58. 131565
    First edition, inscribed by Florence Nightingale on the half-title, "Mrs. Webb Watson, with the kind and grateful regards of Florence Nightingale, Dec. 1865". The work was subsequently re-gifted by Webb, "Presented to L. Martin Edmunds by Mrs. Webb Watson". Nightingale's choice of this work as a gift provides insight into... Learn More
    £4,750

    Stock Code: 131565

    signed

    Reserve

  59. 130897
    First edition thus, limited issue, number 70 of 100 copies printed on Japon for the Guild of Women Binders and finely bound in their workshop. The Guild was established in 1898 by a bookseller, Frank Karslake, as "a way of publicising and promoting the sale of books bound by women" (Tidcombe pp. 27-8). Karslake set up the... Learn More
    £2,750

    Stock Code: 130897

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  60. 125669
    First edition in book form, early states of most plates, with page numbers and no caption, but with Phiz plates replacing the two Buss plates and with the corrected state frontispiece and Weller title page. In later states the plates are entirely re-etched and do not contain page locations. Learn More
    £9,750

    Stock Code: 125669

    Reserve

Showing items 1-60 of 648

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