“SUCH WORKS… ARE THE RAILROADS TO LEARNING”: HANDSOMELY BOUND SET OF WILLIAM ROBERTSON’S HISTORIES, ILLUSTRATED WITH SEVEN FOLDING PLATES
ROBERTSON, William. Works. London: William Baynes and Son, 1824. Twelve volumes. 12mo, contemporary full straight-grain brown morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, all edges gilt. $2200.
“New Edition” of Robertson’s lauded histories of Scotland, Charles V and the New World, illustrated with engraved frontispiece portrait and seven folding plates (six maps), handsomely bound.
Scottish historian and Presbyterian minister Robertson “is regarded, along with David Hume and Edward Gibbon, as one of the most important British historians of the 18th century” (Britannica Online). His History of Scotland— which chronicles Scotland, after a glance at its “dark and fabulous” past, from the death of James V to the ascension of James VI— saw publication on February 1, 1759. “Its sobriety, fairness and literary character give it a permanent interest to a student of the evolution of historical composition” (DNB). In 1769, he published his acclaimed History of Charles V, “regarded as an introduction to the History of Modern Europe” (DNB); Byron called it “another of my great favorites; it contains an epitome of information. Such works…. are the railroads to learning” (Allibone, 1827). And from its publication in 1778 until the 1840s, Robertson’s account of the discovery of America and the conquest of Mexico and Peru “held its place as the standard history of the discovery of the New World” (Honour). Previous owner’s inkstamps. Old bibliographic notation (Volume I). With engraved frontispiece portrait (Volume I); folding maps of West India Islands (Volume VIII), Mexico and New Spain (Volume IX), New Granada (Volume X), South America (Volume XI) and two of Southwest Asia (Volume XII); and folding chart of Mexican art (Volume X). Owner bookstamps.
Occasional light foxing, contemporary bindings handsome. A lovely set.