James Boswell’s Book of Company at Auchinleck.

The Roxburghe Club, 1995.

£260

Approximately:
US $335€300

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The Book of Company is much more than a visitor’s book, since James Boswell comments on the men and women he met and entertained, and the occasions of his doing so, are all his own. It is therefore an important addition to his many-sided self-portrait. Beginning in 1782, two years before Samuel Johnson died, and ending five months before Boswell’s own death in May 1795, it reflects Boswell’s anguished uncertainties, as well as the everyday details of where he was, with whom he dined, whom he saw in the evening and – punctually recorded – how many bottles of wine and spirits were dispatched. The book is here reproduced in full facsimile, interleaved with a transcript on facing pages. At the foot of each page is a commentary, largely drawn from Boswell’s correspondence and journals, which converts it into a comprehensive day by day diary of his thoughts and actions throughout the period.

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Staves ruled entirely in red appear in the last decades of the thirteenth century (formerly the F-line would usually have been ruled in red and the C-line in yellow). During the same period neume forms throughout Europe generally became squarer in form, and by the end of the century the familiar square-note notation had become virtually uniform across western Europe.

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UNIQUE? [BEWICK, Thomas?]

26 rubbings from engraved woodblocks of the heads of Kings and Queens and England, apparently never published in this form.

26 apparently unrecorded wood-engravings – heads of the monarchs of England from William the Conqueror to George III – these images taken by rubbing from the blocks rather than printing. The engravings bear strong similarity to the 26 which appear in An Abridgement of the History of England … by Dr. Goldsmith … with Heads by Bewick (London, 1803), of which Thomas Bewick apparently bought a copy on 20 April of that year: his account book records a ‘Parcel / Goldsmith Hisy Engd / Grafton Piccy 4s d.’ (A Provisional Checklist of the Library of Thomas Bewick, by David Gardner-Medwin, item 1, online).

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