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The Visitation of London, Anno Domini 1633, 1634, and 1635.

Edited by Joseph Jackson Howard and Joseph Lemuel Chester.

London : The Harleian Society, 1880-83 Stock Code: 144925
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Bound by Zaehnsdorf and with proof engravings

First edition, a distinguished copy: from the library of Sir George John Armytage, honorary secretary of the Harleian Society, extra illustrated with a complete suite of proof engravings of the arms on india paper, each mounted on fine paper and bound in at the appropriate page; presented in a refinedly unpretentious binding by Zaehnsdorf - "choice" in bygone bookseller's parlance.

Armytage (1842-1918), sixth baronet of the Armytage baronets of Kirklees, Yorkshire, was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and edited a number of volumes for the Harleian Society, of which he was a founder; he was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1907-08. Both volumes carry his handsome wood-engraved armorial bookplate and gilt arms at the head of each spine. The Society, established in 1869 with the intention of publishing manuscripts of heraldic visitations, was named after the Harleian Manuscripts originally amassed by Robert Harley, first earl of Oxford, and his son Edward.

Heraldic visitations began in 1530 during the reign of Henry VIII. They were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms or their deputies, with the intention of registering and regulating the coats of arms of the nobility, gentry and boroughs, and "claims to gentility were rejected as well as confirmed by the Heralds. But visitations were rare and could never keep pace with the waxing and waning of family fortunes in the counties. Although the Heralds could snub the more obvious and most recent interlopers in county society, on the whole they tended to grant a formal legitimacy to those whose claims rested on grounds less precise, but much firmer than genealogy" (Keith Wrightson, English Society 1580-1680, 2002, p. 8). The practice of visitations continued until 1688.

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2 volumes, quarto (262 x 170 mm). Contemporary red half morocco by Zaehnsdorf, spines with five raised bands, each trimmed with a single gilt fillet, gilt lettered direct in the second, fourth and sixth compartments, thick and thin gilt fillets, sides and corners trimmed with a single gilt fillet, Spanish gold vein pattern marbled sides and endpapers, top edges gilt, others untrimmed.


Illustrated throughout with wood-engraved coats of arms by John Cleghorn.


Recent coloured bookplate of John Maurice Hawkins in both volumes. Scattered foxing. A most handsome copy.


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