British literature and history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on poetry, fiction, and drama.
We usually have a selection of literary works from the STC and Wing period (i.e. before 1701), and a broad range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, particularly the Romantics. We also have a selection of historical manuscripts, prints and broadsides, and works in translation.
Among important works which have passed through our hands are the editor's presentation copy of Milton's Lycidas, Swift's Modest Proposal, the autograph draft of Byron's She walks in beauty, the autograph manuscript of Jane Austen's only play Sir Charles Grandison, Dickens’s copy of Vanity Fair, Trollope's classical library, and, over the years, some fifty Shakespeare First Folios.
[PATCH, Richard, defendant.]
The Trial of Richard Patch, for the wilful Murder of Mr. Isaac Blight, on the 23d of Sept. 1805, at...
London: Printed, by the express Appointment of the Sheriff, for Edward Jeffery ... Sold by John Walker ... H. D. Symonds ... Harris ... W....
First edition of this report of a famous trial (there was a rival version from the shorthand of Joseph and W. B. Gurney). Richard Patch (1770?-1806) was an unsuccessful farmer near Exeter who mortgaged his farms in 1803 and departed to London, where he entered the service of Isaac Blight, a ship-breaker...
Histoire de l’Academie Françoise par M. Pelisson [sic], nouvelle edition, augmentee des deux discours...
Amsterdam, Jean Frederic Bernard, 1717.
An attractive prize copy of Pellisson’s history of the Académie française, with a printed presentation label from the Jesuit college in the Occitan town of Carpentras, outside Avignon.
Observations on Poetry, especially the epic: occasioned by the late Poem upon Leonidas.
London: Printed by H. Woodfall. Sold by J. Brotherton … J. Nourse … and T. Dodsley … 1738.
First edition, a piece of literary criticism inspired by Richard Glover’s long poem Leonidas (1737), ‘a high-minded epic on the virtuous resistance by the Spartan king (perhaps an optimistic portrait of Frederick [Prince of Wales]) to the effeminate and treacherous Persian army’ (Oxford...
Pompe funebri di tutte le nationi del mondo, raccolte dale storie sagre et profane.
Verona, Francesco Rossi, 1639.
First edition of Perucci’s extensively illustrated account of funeral practices, inscribed by a Scottish antiquary and documented book collector. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and later the Royal Society, Walter Bowman (1699–1782) travelled extensively over the course of five decades...
The Character and Reward of the good and faithful Servant. A Sermon preached at Crouched Friars, London, April...
London: Printed by Richard Hett, for J. Noon … J. Buckland … and C. Henderson … 1762.
First edition of a sermon that provides an extended biographical notice (pp. 25-34) of the Presbyterian theologian George Benson (1699-1762). Benson embarked on an industrious series of interpretative Biblical paraphrases after the manner of Locke in the 1730s. His most famous work, published after he...
A catechism of the history of Scotland; including every important event relating to that country. From its...
London, Pinnock and Maunder, 1820.
Early edition of this oft-reprinted but uncommon guide to Scottish history, one of many catechisms on all types of subject published by the writer and publisher William Pinnock (1782-1843). The history of Scotland appears to have concluded with the ’45 rebellion; the final question and answer pair...
PIOZZI, Hester Lynch.
British Synonymy; or, an Attempt at regulating the Choice of Words in familiar Conversation. Inscribed, with...
London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson … 1794.
First edition of a fascinating collection of short essays on synonyms, intended as a help to her husband and his foreign friends. Mrs. Piozzi began work on her Synonymy in early 1792, and by August was hard at the grindstone: ‘ten pages o’ Day copying, besides a little Composition now and...
PLINY the Younger.
Epistolarum libri X & panegyricus.
Leiden, [Bonaventure & Abraham] Elzevir, 1640.
First Elzevir edition, handsomely bound for the Irish politician Thomas Wogan Browne.
Venice, Nicolao di Aristotile detto Zoppino, March 1525.
An attractive illustrated edition of twenty-seven of Plutarch’s lives, extensively annotated by a Papal tax-collector, in a striking contemporary binding.
PLUTARCH [and Jodocus BADIUS Ascensius (editor)].
Vitae … novissime … longe diligentius repositae, majoreque...
Venice, Melchiorre Sessa [the elder] & Pietro Ravani, 26 November 1516.
First substantially illustrated edition of Plutarch’s Lives, with signs of early reading. First published in this popular translation in Paris in 1514 by French scholar-printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462–1535) in collaboration with Jean Petit, the text is here accompanied by seventy-eight...
Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth...
London, Printed by Richard Badger. 1637.
First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.
The Memoires of Monsieur Du Vall: containing the history of his Life and Death. Whereunto are annexed his last...
London, Printed for Henry Brome … 1670.
First(?) edition of a partly fictitious and often satirical life of the highwayman Claude Duval, published shortly after his execution in 1670. This is the more substantial of two opportunistic biographies, between them the main sources of information about him, though by no means entirely trustworthy. ...
Les Delices de Windsore; or a Description of Windsor Castle, and the Country adjacent, treating, I. Of the Castle....
Eton: Printed by Joseph, and Thomas Pote, 1755.
First edition of a much-reprinted pocket companion to Windsor ‘for the use of Strangers, and other Persons, who visit this our Royal Castle’. It is ‘for the most part an Extract from a larger Work publish’d in Quarto a few Years since’ (Pote’s own work The History and Antiquities of Windsor...
Paris: Black Sun Press, 1930.
First edition, No. 122 of a limited edition of 350 copies, of which fifty copies were printed on Japanese Vellum and signed by Pound, together with three hundred unsigned copies on Navarre Paper.
How to Read …
London, Desmond Harmsworth, .
First edition, a fine association copy. Agnes Bedford (1892-1969) was a lifelong friend of Pound (they first met in 1919 and corresponded until 1963 when he unexpectedly severed contact) and through him of Wyndham Lewis, with whom she had an affair in the 1920s. A vocal coach and accompanist,...
The Letters … 1907-1941. Edited by D. D. Paige
… London, Faber & Faber, .
First English edition, an association copy.
The Classic Anthology defined by Confucius.
London, Faber & Faber, 1955.
First English edition, first printing, comprising sheets of the Harvard University Press edition (1954) with a cancel Faber title-page.
P. Rami ... Oratio de legatione.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First (?) edition: a fascinating pamphlet marking a critical epoch in the history of the University of Paris and the first occasion on which Ramus came into prominence as champion of his University and of higher education in general.
Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.
Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.
London, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for R. Royston … 1670
Sole edition of one of the first books in English devoted to soil conservation. The dedication is signed Gabriel Reeve and dated from Hackney, 14 April 1670.