"BASKERVILLE'S PLACE IN TYPOGRAPHIC HISTORY IS SECURE": BASKERVILLE'S 1772 LUCRETIUS
(BASKERVILLE PRESS) LUCRETIUS. Titi Lucretii Cari de Rerum Natura Libri Sex. Birminghamae: Johannis Baskerville, 1772. Quarto, contemporary full red straight-grain morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $1750.
Magnificently printed 1772 first Baskerville Press edition of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, "one of the grandest and most moving poems in the Latin language" (PMM 87).
This was the first in the series of 1772 Baskerville quarto editions of Latin classics; "for their magnificence of type, paper, ink, and presswork there can only be unqualified praise. Nothing finer had yet been attempted in England" (DNB I, 1283). "English and American bookmaking has accepted the Anglo-Saxon precepts of which Baskerville was an illustrious protagonist, i.e., that good design, type, paper, and good presswork are the principal components of the fine book, and that illustration and adornment, if any, may be secondary graces. And, need one add, respect for literary content remains the compelling reason for the book's existence… His most influential books were the squarish quartos of the Latin classics… Baskerville's place in typographic history is secure" (Art of the Printed Book, 25-26). Gaskell 43. Small early owner inscription at foot of first page of text.
Interior clean and fine. A most handsome and desirable copy in contemporary morocco.