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LENNOX, Charlotte.

Memoirs of Maximilian de Bethune,

Duke of Sully, Prime Minister of Henry the Great. Containing the history of the life and reign of that monarch, and his own administration under him. Translated from the French, by the Author of the Female Quixote. To which is added, The Tryal of Ravaillac for the Murder of Henry the Great. In five volumes. A new edition.

London: J. Rivington and Sons, J. Dodsley, S. Crowder, G. Robinson, T. Cadell, and T. Evans., 1778 Stock Code: 133228
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Probably an Edwards of Halifax "Etruscan" binding

An attractive and well-preserved set in 'Etruscan' calf, most probably executed by the esteemed bindery of the Edwards of Halifax. This is the ninth edition (first published in 1755 in 3 volumes and subsequently expanded to 5) of this much republished translation by Lennox of the history of one of Henry the Great's main advisers.

Charlotte Lennox (c.17301804), was a Scottish novelist and writer, best known today for her second novel The Female Quixote, or, The Adventures of Arabella (1752), an imitation and parody of Cervantes' Don Quixote. It was approved by both Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson, and applauded by Samuel Johnson. "The Female Quixote retains its freshness and humour 250 years after its publication, and internet searches reveal a continued interest in the works of Charlotte Lennox. Her translation Memoirs of Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully sold steadily: there were fifteen editions to 1856, including a Scottish 'piracy' (1773); after the abolition of the London book trade's claim to perpetual literary property, the work was shared out to the trade, and James Dodsley was obliged to decline Lennox's offer of a revised and corrected version" (ODNB).

The Edwards of Halifax were a distinguished family of bookbinders and booksellers renowned for their painted vellum bindings, fore-edge paintings, and 'Etruscan' calf bindings. Here, the neo-classical style and the tools are very similar to a binding described in the Maggs catalogue 1075, notably the "metope and pentaglyph roll enclosing a stained border of classical palmettes," and the classical urn in the centre.

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5 vols., large octavo (224 x 136 mm). Near contemporary 'Etruscan' calf probably by the Edwards of Halifax, titles in gilt to green morocco labels on smooth spines, with panels intricately stained with floral and foliate swags, roundel containing volume numbers in gilt, boards with a metope and pentaglyph border roll in gilt, concentric panels to the boards, divided by black stained rules, broad panel with palmettes separated by "trident" motifs in black, central panel finely sprinkled and with central stained urn device surrounded by rays in splendour, gilt edge-roll, gilt ribbon and bead roll, edges yellow, green silk bookmarks, marbled endpapers.


Two engraved portraits, including a frontispiece.


19th-century William Harryman armorial bookplates to front pastedowns. Light wear to extremities, some corners softened, a few joints a little tender, one or two minor wormholes to joints, light rubbing, very occasional faint foxing; else a bright, excellent set indeed.


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