"SCRUPULOUSLY DEFINITIVE": 1749 FIRST NEWTON EDITION OF PARADISE LOST, BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED AND HANDSOMELY BOUND
MILTON, John. (NEWTON, Thomas, editor). Paradise Lost. A Poem in Twelve Books. London: for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1749. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary full mottled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, red morocco spine labels. $4000.
Beautifully illustrated edition of Milton’s epic poem, the first to be edited by Bishop Thomas Newton and the first variorum edition of Paradise Lost to be published, with two frontispiece portraits and 12 copper-engraved scenes after Francis Hayman.
"In 1749 Newton published his variorum edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, with a life and elaborate notes, and in 1752 the remaining poems… The edition, with its rigorous use of original documents and collation of all previous editions, is highly rated by literary scholars and has been described as 'scrupulously definitive'" (ODNB). With the lovely engravings after Hayman this edition proved very popular, and was reprinted in various forms well into the 19th century. "In the 1740s… Hayman became one of the most prolific designers of book illustrations. He notably illustrated the 1742 edition of Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela, Thomas Hanmer's edition of Shakespeare of 1743–4, and Thomas Newton's editions of Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd in 1749 and 1752 respectively" (ODNB). With dedication by Newton to the Earl of Bath, at whose expense this edition was published, a critique of the work by Addison, a Life of Milton, subscriber's list and index. Lowndes, 1559. Bookplates (two engraved armorial).
Only occasional foxing, expert restoration to joints , spine ends and corners, gilt bright. An attractive copy of this impressive illustrated edition in beautiful contemporary calf-gilt.