“A BRILLIANCE OF INTELLECTUAL GIFTS AND GRACES”
CHESTERFIELD, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of. Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, Esq. Two volumes. WITH: Miscellaneous Works. Two volumes. London: J. Dodsley, 1774. Together, four volumes, uniformly bound. Quarto, contemporary full tree calf skillfully rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spines and spine labels neatly laid down. $4500.
First edition of Chesterfield’s celebrated letters to his son: “I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it to you.” Together with Chesterfield’s memoirs, essays, and additional letters, with seven (of eight) engraved portraits of Chesterfield and his contemporaries. Four quarto volumes in lovely contemporary gilt-decorated tree calf.
Chesterfield began the correspondence when his illegitimate son Philip was barely five and continued writing him regularly throughout his life. The letters consist of carefully considered instruction in all branches of learning and the social graces, enriched by personal essays on history and the classics. Philip's early death in 1768 led to his father's decline, and, after Chesterfield's death in 1773, Philip's widow prepared the letters for publication. "Chesterfield's achievements betray a brilliance of intellectual gifts and graces" (DNB). Close friend of Pope, he proved an eloquent statesman admired even by his political opponents. He was Walpole's most bitter antagonist. Bound with both half titles and with errata for Volume I appearing at rear of Volume II. Second state of Volume I, with "quia uroit" corrected on page 55, line 16. Letters with engraved frontispiece of Chesterfield; Works without engraved portrait of Earl Stanhope (seven of eight called for); with all half titles. Gulick B2. Rothschild I:596. Bookplate in each volume; owner pencil signature.
Interiors clean and fine, spines with some minor rubbing. A very handsome set in excellent condition.