MEYRICK AND SMITH’S THE COSTUME OF THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF THE BRITISH ISLANDS, WITH 24 STRIKING HAND-COLORED FOLIO PLATES OF COSTUMES AND VIEWS, INCLUDING STONEHENGE
MEYRICK, Samuel Rush. The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands, from the Earliest Periods to the Sixth Century; to Which Is Added that of the Gothic Nations on the Western Coasts of the Baltic, the Ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes. London: Printed by Howlett and Brimmer… for T. M'Lean… and E. Williams, 1821. Folio (10-1/2 by 14-1/2 inches), contemporary full plum straight-grain morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, all edges gilt. $2800.
Second edition of Meyrick and Smith’s exquisite work on the ancient costume of the British Isles, with hand-colored engraved title page and 24 beautiful hand-colored illustrations of ancient British and Baltic inhabitants, an attractive copy in full contemporary morocco-gilt.
Though Meyrick remains best known for his authoritative work on arms and armor, A Critical Inquiry into Antient Armour, this work on the costume of the original inhabitants of the British Isles continues to be regarded as one of the most striking and well-executed works on the subject. Collaborator Charles Hamilton Smith was a talented writer, illustrator, and watercolorist, who worked extensively on both natural subjects and costume. Tracing the British from the Ante-Roman Period through the Post-Roman Period, the book includes plates such as "A mounted British Warrior," "Costume of the Druidical Order," "Roman British Priestesses," "Irish Berhons," "Costume of the Pagan Irish," and "Grand Conventional Festival of the Britons" depicting a gathering at Stonehenge, all accompanied by well-researched commentary. Also incorporated is a section on the inhabitants of the inhabitants of the Baltic including the Danes. Text watermarked 1818; plates watermarked "J Whatman" 1817, 1820, 1823. First published in 1815. Tooley 326. Colas 2051. See Abbey, Life 427. Prideaux 344. Owner ink signature. Small bookseller label on rear pastedown.
Text and plates clean and fine; light rubbing to joints and extremities, contemporary morocco-gilt binding sound and attractive. An exceptionally good copy.