"VARIETIES OF HUMAN HEART AND TEMPER":SPLENDID SEVEN-VOLUME LARGE FOLIO SET OF THE PAINTINGS OF SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
REYNOLDS, Joshua. Engravings from the Pictures and Sketches Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Comprising the Whole of His Works [First Series]. WITH: Engravings from the Works… [Second Series]. London: S.W. Reynolds; Henry Graves, 1820; 1865. Seven volumes (First Series, four volumes; Second Series, three volumes). Folio (13 by 19-1/2 inches), early 20th-century full crimson morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
First edition of the four-volume first series and early edition of the second series, forming an impressive and finely engraved catalogue of Reynolds' works in a uniformly bound seven-volume large folio set containing 550 superb engravings after Reynolds' paintings and portraits, splendidly bound in full morocco-gilt by Bedford.
"Reynolds was the greatest portrait-painter that England has produced, and one of the greatest painters in the world. Mr. Ruskin ranks him among 'the seven supreme colourists' and says: 'Considered as a painter of individuality in the human form and mind, I think him, even as it is, the prince of portrait-painters. Titian paints nobler pictures and Vandyck has nobler subjects, but neither of them entered so subtly as Sir Joshua did into the minor varieties of human heart and temper'" (DNB). Hundreds of Reynolds' paintings were engraved by Samuel William Reynolds, Engraver to the King (first series) and by McArdell, J. R. Smith, Valentine Green, J. Watson, T. Watson, E. Fisher, and others and printed in various formats by Henry Graves (second series). Many of the plates in the First Series are marked "Proof." The plates in the Second Series are printed on India paper and mounted. Second series first published circa 1845. Lowndes, 2079. Early owner ink signature.
Infrequent minor spotting to the margins of only a very few plates. A few corners gently bumped; minor color restoration only to extremities. A splendid, monumental set in very nearly fine condition, beautifully bound.