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CAXTON, William.

The Game of Chesse.

[London: John Russell Smith, 1855] Stock Code: 145731
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Skilful facsimile by a master typefounder

First edition of Vincent Figgins's facsimile edition of the 1482 Westminster Caxton edition, in the attractive original calf binding.

Caxton's Game of Chess was first printed in 1474, and reprinted with the woodcuts added (as here) in 1482. Following the facsimile are Figgins's remarks on Caxton's typographical productions, lists relating to Caxton's works and their holdings, and a single leaf of type specimens used by Caxton in this printing.

The last two leaves are an advertisement for the book, at a cost of two guineas in calf or three in morocco with silver clasps and bosses, the proceeds intended for the benefit of the printers' almshouses at Wood Green, with a list of the trustees of the charity. The book has only the facsimile of Caxton's original title page; it was reissued in 1860, apparently from the same sheets, with an additional modern title.

Vincent Figgins was the eldest son of a leading London typefounder, also Vincent Figgins (1766-1844). The elder Figgins retired in 1836 and transferred his foundry to his two eldest sons, Vincent Figgins II of Southgate and James Figgins, who issued a first specimen book under their own name in 1838.

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Small folio (272 x 202 mm). Original calf, neatly rebacked and corners restored, front board with illustration from A5v and rear board with Caxton's monogram blocked in blind, both within blind panelling and checkered frames, checkered endpapers, red edges.


Title page printed in red, 24 half-page woodcuts (some duplicated).


Contemporary New York bookseller's ticket at head of front pastedown. Slight scuff marks, internally crisp, a very good copy.


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