JOHNSON, Samuel.

The Works.

A New Edition. To Which is Prefixed an Essay on His Life and Genius, by Arthur Murphy.

London: J. Haddon, printer; for G. Walker, J. Akerman, E. Edwards, J. Harwood, W. Robinson and Sons, Liverpool; E. Thomson, Manchester; J. Noble, Hull; J. Wilson, Berwick; W. Whyte and Co. Edinburgh; and R. Griffin and Co. Glasgow, 1820 Stock Code: 24300
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A lovely set with a colorful provenance

A beautifully bound set of an attractive edition, printed in a large legible type. Arthur Murphy's Essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson was first published in 1792.

With an appealing Scottish provenance: ownership inscription at head of title pages, "Mrs Forbes, Echt House", Aberdeenshire. This was the home of James Forbes (1775-1850), who married in 1801, Jane Niven (1795-1842); thence by descent to Anthony Keith-Falconer, 7th earl of Kintore (1794-1844), with his small embossed stamp on blanks before each title, a fox head over a scroll bearing the motto "Floreat Scientia" (let knowledge flourish). Kintore was a keen, and notoriously reckless, huntsman, "at his hunting box in Scotland, which he called "The Peat Stack,"on all the china, glass, and plate, was a fox's head engraved, with the motto 'Floreat Scientia,' and he had the same device on his travelling carriage" (Loder-Symonds, A History of the Old Berkshire Hunt from 1760 to 1904, 2013). That doyen of nineteenth century sporting writers, Charles James Apperley ("Nimrod"), described him memorably, "he is as hard as flint. A muddy ditch is a bed of roses to Lord Kintore" (Hunting Reminiscences, 1843, p. 214).

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12 volumes, octavo (210 x 131 mm). Finely bound in contemporary blue-green straight-grain morocco, spines with four low raised bands tooled in black with a Greek key roll, gilt lettered direct and richly tooled, sides with thick-and-thin gilt rule border enclosing a panel of interlocking circles-and-rosettes and a blind foliate border, pretty gilt edge roll and turn-ins, drab brown surface-paper endpapers.


Fine stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece of Johnson by Samuel Freeman after Francesco Bartolozzi set within an octagonal border.


Pretty late 19th-century bookplates of E. and J. Dupléssis Beylard, engraved by Henri Bouvier of Paris. Slight rubbing, a very handsome set.


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