"ARMS AND THE MAN I SING": THE BASKERVILLE PRESS VIRGIL, 1766, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(BASKERVILLE PRESS) VIRGIL. The Works of Virgil, Englished by Robert Andrews. Birmingham: Printed by John Baskerville for the Author, 1766. Large octavo, early 20th-century full brown straight-grain morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $2500.
First edition of Andrews' translation of Virgil, including the Aeneid in its entirety, finely printed at the Baskerville Press and handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt.
Andrews' edition "is in blank verse, and has the strange peculiarity of conveying the sense of Virgil… line for line. This rare book, printed by Baskerville, now finds a place among the curiosities of literature" (DNB). "Andrews' most substantial work was a metaphrastic blank verse translation of the works of Virgil (1766), printed by Baskerville, which Andrews dedicated to the Hon. Booth Grey. In the dedication Andrews praises Virgil's aptness to inspire 'the spirit of liberty and of universal justice' which the translator feels reaches its natural perfection 'under the inviolable authority of a British King and Parliament'" (ODNB). Includes the Aeneid in its entirety, as well as the Pastorals and the Georgics.
Baskerville built up a fortune manufacturing japanned ware. While printing was only ever his hobby, he dedicated himself to it fully, cutting his own type and fashioning his own presses and ink. He financed the enterprise, which was never commercially successful, with the proceeds of his japanning business. Over the course of nearly 20 years and 56 titles, he made a name for himself as one of the premier printers of fine editions in the 18th century, seeking always to print not "many books; but such only, as are of consequence, of intrinsic merit, or established Reputation, and which the public may be pleased to see in elegant dress" (Art of the Printed Book, 26). Gaskell 32. Brueggemann, 558.
Light rubbing to front joint. A fine copy, handsomely bound.