DOYLE'S CHRONICLE OF ENGLAND, WITH 81 VIVID COLOR WOOD-ENGRAVINGS AFTER HIS DRAWINGS—THIS COPY LAVISHLY EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH OVER 450 ENGRAVINGS
DOYLE, James E. (EVANS, Edmund, engraver). A Chronicle of England. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864. One volume expanded to two. Thick quarto, early 20th-century three-quarter red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $4800.
First edition of Doyle's popular history, with 81 intricate in-text color wood-engravings by Edmund Evans, "the greatest wood-engraver of the Victorian era," after Doyle's original drawings. This copy expanded to two volumes by the inclusion of more than 450 engravings, many also colored, depicting dramatic historical scenes, royal portraits, and costume of the times. Handsomely bound by Smith.
"While comparatively young… Doyle abandoned the profession of an artist and devoted himself to historical studies. For his own edification he compiled a Chronicle of England, B.C. 55-A.D. 1485, which he adorned with numerous illustrations in color. It received considerable praise from various persons to whom it was afterwards submitted, among others from the prince consort, and was well received by the public when published" (DNB). Doyle's illustrations are rendered by the greatest wood-engraver of the Victorian era, Edmund Evans, in "bright and fresh engravings, printed in as many as ten colors, [and] dropped into the text about once every six pages" (Ray, 150). "Evans had brought printing in color to a new efficiency, and his craftsmanship made possible artistic executions" (New York Times). Evans is also considered a forerunner in the use of color prints for children's books, chiefly those of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, and Kate Greenaway. He ground his own pigments and produced inks that "preserved the freshness of the [original] colors" (Lundin, 163). In the 1860s his most notable work was James Doyle's Chronicle of England, considered at the time the "pinnacle of book arts" (Lundin). Bookseller William S. Lloyd of Philadelphia Grangerized this copy: originally issued in one volume, the wealth of inserted illustrations necessitated an expansion to two volumes, with an additional title page by Lloyd inserted in each volume. Ray 241.
A splendidly extra-illustrated copy in fine condition.