Prime Minister Grenville's Copy
A First Edition
of the "Remarkable" Index
WATT, Robert. Bibliotheca Britannica; or A General Index to British and Foreign Literature. In Two Parts:óAuthors and Subjects. Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, & Green, 1824.
First edition. Four quarto volumes (10 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches; 270 x 210 mm). Text in double columns.
Full contemporary calf. Gilt ruled borders. Five gilt ruled raised bands. Gilt rules to spine head and tail. Green and faun morocco spine labels. Blind tooled turn-ins. Expertly rebacked with the original spines laid down.
Blind stamped armorial device of Baron Grenville to all covers. A fine set.
"The first part [of the work] is a full and comprehensive catalogue of [over 40,000] authors and their works [in which the authors are arranged in alphabetical order, and under each is given a chronological list of his works, their various editions, sizes, and prices - over 200,000 books, from 1450 to the early 19th century];óthe second an equally complete and extensive encyclopædia of all manner of subjects on which books have been written" (Preface).
Scottish bibliographer Robert Watt (1774-1819) "began life as a farm and road labourer, and in his boyhood met BurnsÖHe learned Greek and Latin, and proceeded to Glasgow and then Edinburgh University, where he studied classics, anatomy, and divinity. He became a very successful doctor, but the work for which he is remembered, and on which he spent over thirty years, on his remarkable Bibliotheca Britannica, or a general Index to British and Foreign Literature, published in 1824" (The Oxford Companion to English Literature).
William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (1759-1834), was a British Whig statesman who served as Prime Minister from 1806-1807. At the time of Bibliotheca Britannica's publication he was Chancellor of the University of Oxford, a position he held from 1810 until his death in 1834.
The 1995 reprint currently sells at nearly the same price as this spectacular, historic with marvelous provenance, and highly collectible copy of the first edition.
(To order this item, or for more information, please call 818-222-4103)