"THE EARLIEST MAJOR WORK IN ENGLISH ON THE WINES OF THE ANCIENTS, AND THE FIRST BOOK IN ENGLISH THAT DISCUSSES MODERN WINES": 1775 FIRST EDITION OF BARRY'S OBSERVATIONS ON WINES
BARRY, Edward. Observations Historical, Critical, and Medical, on the Wines of the Ancients. And the Analogy between Them and Modern Wines. With General Observations on the Principles and Qualities of Water, and in Particular on Those of Bath. London: Printed for T. Cadell, 1775. Quarto, contemporary full tree calf, black morocco spine label. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $5200.
First edition of this landmark work on wine, with engraved frontispiece depicting the thermopolium from Baccius’ work, and vignette title page. A lovely copy in contemporary tree calf.
Sir Edward Barry, born in Ireland in 1696 and a physician by training, "was the first who treated the subject of wines in this country scientifically" (DNB). In this volume he reviews wines from a historical perspective, discusses wine storage and the construction of wine cellars, evaluates critically the wines of various regions and qualities of water in wine-making, and ultimately expounds on the medical uses of wine. "This is the earliest major work in English on the wines of the Ancients, and the first book in English that discusses modern wines… Barry's translation of passages from ancient wine writers brought to light their views, which had been previously unavailable in English… Aside from content, Barry's book will interest the book collector for its sheer physical beauty" (Gabler). "The earliest work of any importance written in English about wines" (Simon). Simon cites the Appendix for its interesting discussion of modern wines and viticulture in England. With errata slip at rear that includes a note to the binder calling for a plate between pages 160-161 not present in this copy nor in Cragle's copy—most likely this refers to the frontispiece, as the text on those pages discusses the thermopolium depicted in that engraving. Without list of books sold by John Donaldson at rear. Cragle 556. Gabler 12120. Simon, Bibliotheca Vinaria, 4. Contemporary owner ink signature to title page and engraved bookplate of Alexander Allardyce of Dunottar.
Light offsetting from frontispiece to title page; text quite clean. Front joint just starting, contemporary tree calf binding sound and quite handsome. An excellent copy.