Epistolarum libri X & panegyricus.

Leiden, [Bonaventure & Abraham] Elzevir, 1640.

12mo, pp. [24], 1-289, ‘300-414’ [i.e. 290-404], [28]; woodcut device le Solitaire to title, woodcut ornaments and initials; a very attractive copy in late eighteenth-century red straight-grained morocco, upper board lettered ‘Wogan Browne’ in gilt (see below), spine gilt-ruled in compartments, lettered directly in gilt, turn-ins roll-tooled in gilt with Greek-key motif, edges gilt, marbled endpapers, ribbon place-marker; small scuff to spine; twentieth-century private collector’s bookplate to upper pastedown.


US $551€522

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First Elzevir edition, handsomely bound for the Irish politician Thomas Wogan Browne.

Thomas Wogan Browne (c. 1758–1812) served as a magistrate, and twice as high sheriff of Co. Kildare. Politically a Whig and denounced as a United Irishman, pre-emptive suspicions appear to have thwarted any intended involvement in the rebellion of 1798. Among others he entertained Wolfe Tone, with whom in 1792 he toasted ‘the spirit of the French mob to the people of Ireland’, and Thomas Russell, whom he impressed with his ‘large and well chosen library’ (DIB).

Wogan Browne’s library, advertised as containing six thousand volumes, included numerous Elzevirs and other examples of fine printing, several incunables and manuscripts, and an extensive collection of Boccaccio. He appears to have had several books similarly bound in red morocco, with his name gilt on the upper board. On his death in 1812, the library was auctioned by Thomas Jones of Dublin, although we have not been able to identify this volume in the catalogue.

Castle Browne, which Wogan Browne had enlarged in the gothic style from 1788, was inherited by his brother Michael Browne and sold soon after to the Jesuit Peter Kenney to become the Clongowes College described in Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Willems 506; see Jones, Bibliotheca Browniana: A Catalogue of the valuable and extensive Library of the late Wogan Browne, Esq., of Castle Browne (Dublin, 1812).

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