“AN INTELLECTUAL BANQUET”: ROMAN MYTHOLOGY IN CLASSICAL ART AND LETTERS, 1755 ILLUSTRATED FOLIO EDITION OF SPENCE’S POLYMETIS
SPENCE, Joseph. Polymetis: or, an Enquiry Concerning the Agreement between the Works of the Roman Poets, and the Remains of the Antient Artists. London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1755. Tall folio (11 by 17 inches), contemporary full tan polished calf rebacked with elaborately gilt-decorated spine laid down, green morocco spine label, raised bands. $1800.
Second edition of this richly illustrated catalogue of classical mythology in Roman art and literature, an impressive tall folio with engraved frontispiece portrait by George Vertue after Isaac Whood, 17 vignette tailpieces, and 41 full-page engraved plates (four double-page, two of these folding) by Boitard after Paderni and others. Very handsomely bound in full contemporary polished calf-gilt.
Many years in the making, this large and finely printed volume traces classical mythology in Roman art and literature. “Remains an agreeable book, owing to the urbanity of its old-fashioned scholarship, the justice of some incidental observations, and its affluent stores of quotation; and, as an intellectual if heterogeneous banquet, may be compared with the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus. Gibbon speaks of its ‘taste and learning” (DNB). Samuel Johnson wrote of Spence: “His criticism was commonly just; what he thought, he thought rightly, and his remarks were recommended by coolness and candor” (DNB). “A highly regarded work” (Brunet). First published in 1747. Lowndes, 2474. Armorial bookplate.
Interior clean. A handsome copy, desirable in contemporary calf-gilt.