"AN EXTRAORDINARY RICHNESS OF COLOR": FIRST EDITION OF PYNE'S HISTORY OF THE ROYAL RESIDENCES, BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED WITH 100 HAND-COLORED FOLIO AQUATINTS, ELEGANTLY BOUND
PYNE, William Henry. The History of the Royal Residences of Windsor Castle, St. James Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckingham House and Frogmore. London: A. Dry, 1819. Three volumes. Folio (11 by 13-1/2 inches), period-style full maroon straight-grain morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. $16,500.
First edition of this beautifully illustrated work on the design and history of eight royal residences, with 100 hand-colored aquatint plates after the works of Charles Wild, James Stephanoff and others, beautifully bound.
Artist and author William Pyne began his career as a watercolorist, but following several successful collaborations with well-known publisher Rudolph Ackermann, he "became enamored of book production" and undertook this ambitious, "large and costly work entitled The History of the Royal Residences… a very sumptuous book for which author, artist, engraver and publisher alike did their best" (Prideaux, 143). Pyne wrote the text and called upon some of his day's most prominent artists to produce this invaluable record of such palatial residences as Carlton House, demolished in 1827, and the luxurious rooms within Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace and other royal homes, many of which were later redesigned. Accomplished watercolorist Charles Wild contributed 59 of the 100 illustrations, displaying an "extraordinary richness of color" (Ray 42). Abbey Scenery 396. Tooley 389. Ex-library Free Library of Philadelphia, with evidence of removal of perforated stamps to title page, final text leaf and just a few other text pages of each volume, and ink stamp to dedication leaf following title pages.
A few plates skillfully remargined, a few expert paper repairs to text and plate margins (not affecting images), a bit of occasional faint marginal foxing. Images clean and bright, hand-coloring vibrant. A splendid illustrated work with the plates in excellent condition. Beautifully bound.