Microcosm of London; or, London in Miniature, The

Early Issue “Microcosm” in a Contemporary Binding

ACKERMANN, R[udolph]. [The Microcosm of London; or, London in Miniature]. London: R. Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, [1808-1810].

First edition, early issue, with text watermarked 1806-1807 and plates watermarked 1805-1808, and with the errata uncorrected, except for that reading “coustom” for “custom” on p. 218 of Volume I (see Abbey, Scenery, p. 138). Three large quarto volumes (12 7/8 x 10 11/16 inches; 327 x 271 mm.). iv, 1, contents], [1, blank], [3]-231, [1, blank]; [iii]-vi, [1, contents], [1, blank], 239, [1, blank]; [iii]-iv, [1, contents], [1, publisher’s note], 280, [6, index and errata] pp. Bound without the half-titles. Woodcut title and engraved dedication leaf in each volume. With 104 hand-colored aquatint plates, including fifty-four by J. Bluck, twenty-nine by J.C. Stadler, ten by T. Sutherland, ten by J. Hill, and one by Harraden, after Rowlandson and Pugin. Seven of the twelve “key plates” are in the first state (Plates 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early nineteenth-century half dark green hard-grain morocco over marbled boards. Spines ruled in black and decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments. Marbled edges and endpapers. Some occasional foxing and browning, slight offsetting from the plates, a few occasional stains. Small ticket on front pastedown of Volume I: Imported by Estes & Lauriat, 143 Washington St., Boston (removed from Volume II). An excellent copy.

“The ‘Microcosm of London’ is one of the great colour-plate books, and a carefully selected copy should form the corner stone of any collection of books on this subject. The plates by Rowlandson and Pugin present an unrivalled picture of London in early 19th century, of historic value, as many of the buildings no longer exist” (Tooley). Early impressions are particularly prized: “original impressions of these splendid plates have a luminous quality entirely absent from later printings” (Abbey).

Abbey, Scenery, 212. Adams, London Illustrated, 99. Martin Hardie, pp. 100-103. Prideaux, pp. 121-124 and 348. Tooley 7. Item #00245

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