"VERY FINE VIEWS OF CATHEDRALS, CHURCHES, ABBEYS, CASTLES AND ANCIENT REMAINS": SPLENDID 18TH-CENTURY SET OF GROSE'S ANTIQUITIES, 14 LARGE QUARTO VOLUMES PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED WITH HUNDREDS OF VIEWS, PLANS AND MAPS, IN CONTEMPORARY MOROCCO-GILT
GROSE, Francis. The Antiquities of England and Wales. Eight volumes. WITH: The Antiquities of Scotland. Two volumes. WITH: The Antiquities of Ireland. Two volumes. WITH: The Military Antiquities. Two volumes. London: Hooper & Wigstead; Stockdale, et al., -1797. Together, 14 volumes. Folio (9-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches), contemporary full navy straight-grain morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, all edges gilt.
Mixed early and first editions of Grose's classic series on the antiquities of England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and British military antiquities, beautifully illustrated with hundreds of engraved plates of views, plans and maps. A splendid large-paper set, 14 volumes beautifully bound in contemporary straight-grain morocco-gilt, rarely seen together and in such excellent condition.
Francis Grose, who has been called a sort of "antiquarian Falstaff," turned to writing only after squandering his inheritance. Tapping his early interest in heraldry and antiquities and his skills as a draughtsman, he began to publish his Antiquities of England and Wales in 1773, an extensive work which was immediately popular. Grose's approach to the travel book was unique in his day and set a new standard. Profusely illustrated and written in a lively, informative style, his series of Antiquities present an exhaustive tour of the man-made and natural landmarks of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, providing a wealth of interesting and often obscure historical information. "At the age of forty, he was inspired to respond to widening interest in British antiquities and to make the remains of the past more intelligible and accessible to his lay readers" (ODNB). "These volumes gain immensely from the very fine views of cathedrals, churches, abbeys, castles and ancient remains" (Cox III, 422). England and Wales, 1783-97, is an early edition; first published 1773-87. Ireland is the 1791 first edition. Scotland, 1797, is an early edition; first published in 1789-91. Military Antiquities is the 1812 third edition; first published 1786-88. England and Wales with large folding map in Volume I "shewing the situation of every building described in this work." Lowndes, 948. From the library of renowned architect Decimus Burton, with his bookplates. Burton (1800-81) was one of the foremost English architects of the 19th century. He was a leading exponent of the Greek revival, Georgian and Regency styles. "Burton was widely fêted in the contemporary press as a significant exponent of the Greek revival style and his individual works—including the Hyde Park screen (1823-25), which was heralded as the 'new Propylaea,' and the Athenaeum (1827-30)—were much praised" (ODNB).
Some scattered foxing, plates and text generally clean. An excellent, wide-margined set, very handsomely bound and in fine condition.