"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), contemporary full straight-grain plum morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and covers, all edges gilt. Each volume housed in a custom cloth chemise and slipcase. $17,500.
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—a lovely copy in full straight-grain morocco-gilt.
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. Engraved bookplate of Neil Benjamin Edmonstone, long-standing and high-ranking official in the East India Company. "His 34 years of service in India were crowned, soon after his return to England, by election to the East India Company's court of directors… In his Lives of Indian Officers (1867), J. W. Kaye described him as 'the ubiquitous Edmonstone, one of the most valuable officials and far-seeing statesmen which the Indian civil service has ever produced'" (ODNB). Morocco-gilt bookplate of Annie Burr Jennings (1855-1939), New York philanthropist, bibliophile, and heir to a Standard Oil fortune, with her monogram and motto, "otium sine literis mors est" (leisure without literature is death). Bookplate of Helen Hanle Madison affixed to chemises.
Only occasional light foxing to text, plates clean and fine, hand-coloring vibrant. Joints expertly repaired, gilt bright. A beautifully bound, near-fine copy of this splendidly illustrated work.