History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of St. Peter

John Preston NEALE

Item#: 121416 We're sorry, this item has been sold

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NEALE, John Preston. History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; Hurst, Robinson & Co., 1818; 1823. Two volumes. Thick folio (11 by 15 inches), 19th-century full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and boards, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.

First edition, large paper copy of this history and architectural survey of beloved Westminster Abbey, with engraved frontispieces, engraved extra title pages, and 58 finely engraved folio plates of exterior views, architectural details, and historic scenes, beautifully bound by Bedford.

John Preston Neale, architectural draughtsman, "is best remembered for his views of the nation's country houses, churches, and public buildings… In 1816 he began publishing the History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster (2 vols., 1818–23), with a descriptive text by Edward Brayley. Neale's intense, dark scenes, peopled with enigmatic characters and 'executed in the highest style of the English burin,' helped to fulfill the text's antiquarian purpose of producing a complete record of this 'national structure,' and the illustrations serve now as an important historical record of the abbey's sculpture (the original drawings are in the Norfolk Record Office)" (ODNB). Of the first edition, 50 large-paper copies were printed as "imperial quartos," as here; 25 "largest-paper" copies were printed as "imperial folios" "to match the large-paper Dugdale's Monasticon" (Lowndes). Lowndes, 1656. Armorial bookplates of William Arthur, the sixth Duke of Portland.

Infrequent light marginal foxing to plates; minor expert repair to front joint of Volume I. A beautiful pair of volumes.

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