"ROXBURGHE" COPY OF JOHN JOHNSON'S TYPOGRAPHIA, 1824, THE LARGEST PAPER VERSION PRINTED, WITH THE BOOKPLATES OF NONESUCH PRESS FOUNDER FRANCIS MEYNELL
JOHNSON, John. Typographia, or the Printer's Instructor: Including an Account of the Origin of Printing, with Biographical Notices of the Printers of England, from Caxton to the Close of the Sixteenth Century. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green, 1824. Two volumes. Royal octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $3500.
First edition of this history of printing, the largest of four sizes published (royal octavo), with two wood-engraved title pages by J. Thompson, three wood-engraved plates, and numerous wood-engraved in-text illustrations and vignettes including portraits of printers and printer's devices, handsomely bound in contemporary morocco. A "Roxburghe copy," distributed to the famous bibliophilic Roxburghe Club, with additional engraved title page in each volume. The copy of of Nonesuch Press founder Francis Meynell, with his bookplates.
"Of the few standard works on the art of printing in the English language, this is perhaps the most familiar… It has long since become, and deservedly, a printer's classic" (Bigmore & Wyman I:371-73). While primarily focusing on the history of printing in Great Britain, including a list of productions through 1599, this work is also valuable for its information on printing in different countries and foreign alphabet. The first volume is generally regarded as historical, whereas the second volume offers practical information on types, composition, and the actual work of a press. Especially notable is the quality of the printing, in terms of both the typography and the wonderful borders on every text page comprising floral and linear rules. This is a so-called Roxburghe copy, in royal octavo format with an additional engraved title page in each volume. The Roxburghe Club was formed in the wake of the record-setting auction of the Duke of Roxburghe's library. The night after the auction, 18 avid bibliophiles met for a dinner presided over by the 2nd Earl Spencer. From that point forward, the Roxburghe Club began meeting annually. Highly exclusive, only 40 members have been allowed at any one time (with each prospective member having to escape blackballing by the other members). Indeed, the Club has only had 350 members overall. The main expectation of the Club is that each member must publish a small, deluxe edition of a rare or curious book. This work, however, was published by John Johnson himself at the Apollo Press. Johnson had formerly been a master printer at the Lee Priority Press, founded by Roxburghe Club member Samuel Egerton Brydges. Dedicated to the Roxburghe Club and its members including the 2nd Earl Spencer, its president, this first edition was published in four sizes: 32mo, 16mo, octavo, and royal octavo—with the last distributed to the Roxburghe Club.. Lowndes I:1028. Bookplates of Francis Meynell, the respected painter and poet as well as the founder of the Nonesuch Press, which was committed to leveraging modern technology to produce beautiful and affordable books designed on an Albion Press but printed by larger commercial outfits. Armorial bookplates of book collector William Cowan ("Sic Itur in Altum").Tiny bookseller ticket.
Interiors generally quite lovely with only a couple isolated spots of foxing and shallow marginal dampstain to Volume I, joints expertly reinforced. Near-fine condition.