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CAMDEN, William.


or, a Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Islands of Adjacent, from the earliest antiquity.

London: John Stockdale, 1806 Stock Code: 143298
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The fine paper issue with the maps hand-coloured

Second Gough edition, an important revision of Camden's influential work; "Britannia had an enormous and lasting impact on multidisciplinary historical writing, and was also of the highest importance as a cultural icon affecting the national self-image" (ODNB). This conspicuously handsome set of the fine paper issue is enhanced enormously by the presence of the delicately hand-coloured county maps.

Richard Gough (1735-1809) was the leading antiquary of his day, director of the Society of Antiquaries, known for his exacting standards of scholarship ("textual accuracy, fieldwork, and strict empiricism") and with strong views on the Society's role "as a public body and custodian of the nation's antiquarian heritage" (ibid.). Of his three-volume first edition of 1789, ODNB remarks that, "in this work Gough translated Camden's entire text anew, a task that took him seven years. The actual printing took a further nine... He professed himself disappointed by the level of public interest. It was on the whole, however, agreed to be a work of immense value and the product of enormous labour. He had planned the enterprise since 1773 and collected new material assiduously from that date. As well as visiting every county himself, he called upon a network of antiquarian friends and correspondents to seek out information, check proofs, and offer suggestions". Only the first volume of this second edition was seen through the press by Gough as he "quarrelled with the publisher", John Stockdale (Lowndes); Gough himself stating in a short addendum to his original preface, that "Mr. Gough, finding it of importance to his health that he should suspend such pursuits, considers himself at full liberty to decline proceeding" - his old colleague and fellow antiquarian John Nichols superintended the remaining volumes. The fine maps are by John Cary, "the most influential private-sector map maker of the age" (ODNB).

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4 volumes, folio (435 x 260 mm). Near-contemporary speckled calf, spines with five raised bands, compartments framed with paired and triple gilt fillets and decorated with circles at each corner, raised bands with a roundel-and-wavy-line roll, each compartment with central rectangular motif formed of foliate tools, dark red and black twin labels, sides with border of paired gilt fillets, blind milled edge roll, red speckled edges.


Engraved portrait frontispiece of Camden by James Basire after W. P. J. Lodder (Loder), 57 mostly folding engraved maps by John Cary (50 hand-coloured), 104 engraved plates.


Contemporary ownership inscription of one S. L. Lillington at head of vol. I title page; recent bookplate of D. A. W. Russell. Partial tidemark to portrait, a few light abrasions, vol. I with small chip at head of spine, area of stripping at fore edge of front cover of vol. IV. A very good set, tall and clean.


Chubb CCLXXII; Lowndes p. 357.


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