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124764 124764_1 124764_2
[WHITE, Gilbert.]

The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne...

in the County of Southampton: with Engravings, and an Appendix.

Availability: In stock

Published: London by T. Bensley; for B. White and Son, 1789

Stock Code: 124764

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, from the library of the novelist Richard Adams (1920-2016), best known as the author of Watership Down (1972), with his bookplate to the pastedown. Adams used the proceeds of his novels to develop an extensive book collection. White's Selborne is one of the great English books of the 18th century, "the first book which raised natural history into the region of literature" (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The work is arranged into three sequences of letters, those addressed to Pennant and to Barrington forming the natural history portion of the volume, the remainder forming an account of parish antiquities. "White's Natural History of Selborne is open to everyone, for everyone has observed much of what it describes. Writer and reader each share the inheritance of the natural world, and delight in what is given, so that Selborne becomes an expression of universal thanksgiving, treasured by all" (ODNB). The binding was executed by the Arts and Crafts binder Douglas Cockerell in 1902 with his gilt monogram and date stamp (1902) on the rear turn-in.

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Quarto (253 x 190 mm). Early 20th-century green crushed morocco, spine lettered in gilt with erroneous date of 1779 at foot of spine, compartments and covers ruled in gilt with small red morocco onlaid cornerpieces.


Engraved vignette title to each section, engraved folding frontispiece with panoramic view of Selborne, additional folding plate, 5 other plates.


Joints and corners a little rubbed, rear joint just beginning to split at foot, hinges split, folding frontispiece re-guarded with folds expertly reinforced on verso, offsets from plates, occasional very light foxing. A very good copy.


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