“CROMWELL COMPLETELY CHANGED THE ANCIENT FRAME OF GOVERNMENT”: LIMITED FOLIO EDITION OF GARDINER’S BIOGRAPHY OF CROMWELL, RICHLY EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED
GARDINER, Samuel Rawson. Oliver Cromwell. London: Goupil, 1899. One volume bound as two. Folio (10 by 13 inches), contemporary full red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $5800.
Limited edition of Gardiner’s highly regarded biography of Cromwell, number 343 of 1475 wide-margined copies printed on fine paper, illustrated with lithographed color frontispiece portrait, 44 engravings (most full-page) and manuscript facsimiles, richly extra-illustrated with over 100 extra plates, most hand-colored (and two folding). Handsomely bound by Bayntun Riviere.
When Scotland began to rise up against Charles I in 1637, Oliver Cromwell was poised at the center of this turning point in British history. Soldier and brilliant strategist, controversial politician and statesman, Cromwell would ultimately be sworn in as Lord Protector in December 1653. Though his is a checkered legacy, Cromwell nevertheless made it possible "for the first time in three and half centuries, for Jews to live, trade and worship openly… in the City of London" (Schama II:235). Prior to Cromwell, "no private person… had taken power to rule a great European kingdom, no subject had taken it upon himself to sit in judgment on his lawful sovereign, condemn him with the formality of a lawful process, and publicly execute him as a criminal. In a country governed by custom, precedent and the common law, Cromwell completely changed the ancient frame of government, reforming Parliament and imposing a written constitution" (Cannon, 263). Issued same year as a limited edition of 350 copies printed on Japanese vellum. Illustrated with numerous portraits and engravings after paintings from the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, and private and royal collections. CBEL III:911.