An unrecorded suite of plates by Thomas Bewick

An unrecorded suite of plates by Thomas Bewick

[Bewick, John and Thomas]. Poems by Goldsmith and Parnell. London: W[illiam] Bulmer, 1795. First edition thus. 4to. xx+76 pp. Some light foxing, else a very good copy in quarter leather, with some rubbing to the marbled boards.

Five full-page, wood-engraved plates, and eight vingettes by Thomas and John Bewick. A superb production printed by Bulmer at his Shakespeare Press and sold originally for a guinea. A contemporary reviewer exulted in “the present admirable specimen of perfection in the kindred arts of printing, engraving, and paper-making ... what particularly distinguishes this volume is the ornament which it received from the engravings in wood, executed by the Bewicks, the delicacy and clearness of which are scarcely conceivable.” Gordon N. Ray concurred, calling this “by far the handsomest of contemporary volumes containing Bewick’s work.”

 Included with this copy is a suite of five wood engravings printed separately by Bulmer at the time of the second printing of the book. The engravings, roughly 9 x 15 cm all with generous margins, are dated January 1, 1804. They are not mentioned by Hugo or Tattersfield, though the latter notes a set of impressions of full-sized plates, possibily taken from the 1795 printing, issued sometime after 1830 at 21s (see Tattersfield 2:532, 3:91n9). The engravings are in generally fine condition; one has a bit of offsetting. An additional engraving has been affixed to the front pastedown.

Laid in is an old catalogue listing for this volume, which the previous owner acquired this volume from the estimable firm of Bromer. Hugo 78 (1795 edn), 4160 (1804 edn); Ray 50; Tattersfield 2.481.

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