"HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL, AND HAS MAINTAINED ITS REPUTATION": FIRST EDITION OF NASH'S MANSIONS OF ENGLAND IN THE OLDEN TIME, FOUR LARGE FOLIO VOLUMES WITH 106 STRIKING LITHOGRAPHIC PLATES OF THE "STATELY HOMES" OF ENGLAND
NASH, Joseph. The Mansions of England in the Olden Time. [London]: Published by T. M'Lean… Printed by C. Hullmandel, 1839-49. Four volumes bound in two. Elephant folio (15 by 22 inches), contemporary three-quarter red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, tan and brown morocco spine labels marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $4200.
First edition of this most desirable illustrated survey of the "stately homes" of England, with the 106 lithographed plates, handsomely bound by J. Wright.
Between 1839 and 1849 Nash published "his great work, in four series, Mansions of England in the Olden Time, which was highly successful, and has maintained its reputation" (DNB). "To prepare these 100 lithographs of surviving country houses of the 15th to 17th centuries, many of them little known, Nash roamed the country and sketched each one thoroughly on site. He confined himself strictly to reproducing architectural details, exterior and interior, but enlivened them romantically with scenes of Tudor domestic life, feasting, and revels that he researched carefully in the antiquarian works of Joseph Strutt… The Mansions' combination of architectural and antiquarian accuracy with contemporary values was devastatingly effective" (ODNB). Nash's romantic re-imaginings include scenes of Henry VIII wooing Anne Boleyn at her ancestral home and young William Shakespeare being brought before a neighboring landowner on poaching charges, as well as many glimpses of everyday life in the historic mansions of England. Two leaves have two plates on them, for a total of 106 on 104 elephant folio plates. Also issued in a deluxe hand-colored issue. With the four dedication leaves not mentioned by Abbey and only occasionally found. With tissue guards. Abbey, Scenery 402. With the prospectus for the fourth part laid in.
Interior generally quite clean, scattered foxing to plates; modest edgewear to contemporary binding, gilt bright. An impressive production.