London: Reeves and Turner, 1876. Item #00891
The Best Edition of the Poetical and Prose Works of Shelley,
in a Superb Cosway-Style Binding by Bayntun (Rivière)
[COSWAY-STYLE BINDING]. SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe. The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited by Harry Buxton Forman. In Four Volumes. London: Reeves and Turner, 1876-1877. [Together with:] SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe. The Prose Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited by Harry Buxton Forman. In Four Volumes. London: Reeves and Turner, 1880.
First edition edited by H. Buxton Forman. Together eight octavo volumes (8 7/16 x 5 3/8 inches; 214 x 136 mm.). Frontispieces and plates.
Uniformly bound by Bayntun (Rivière) of Bath (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in) in mid twentieth-century dark brown crushed levant morocco. Covers with gilt triple fillet border, spines decoratively ruled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five raised bands, board edges with gilt-dotted rule, gilt inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. A spectacular set.
Volume I of The Poetical Works is set with a fine oval portrait miniature (3 3/16 x 2 7/16 inches; 81 x 62 mm.) on ivory under glass of Shelley, surrounded by an inner oval band of onlaid russet morocco within single gilt fillets and an outer decorative intertwining gilt border which is set with sixteen semi-precious stones. A superb example. From the library of William A. Foyle, with his bookplate on front pastedown.
“The first edition [of The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley] appeared in 1876-7, and in 1880 the Prose Works also were published Mr. Forman. In the same year (1880) the eight volumes were issued under a collective title, The Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Verse and Prose, etc.” (Granniss).
“It would be difficult indeed to over-estimate the gains which have accrued to the lovers of Shelley from the strenuous labours of Mr. Harry Buxton Forman, C.B. He too has enlarged the body of Shelley’s poetry (Mr. Forman’s most notable addition is the second part of ‘The Daemon of the World’, which he printed privately in 1876, and included in his Library Edition of the ‘Poetical Works’ published in the same year…but, important as his editions undoubtedly are, it may safely be affirmed that his services in this direction constitute the least part of what we owe him. He has vindicated the authenticity of the text in many places, while in many others he has succeeded, with the aid of manuscripts, in restoring it. His untiring industry in research, his wide bibliographical knowledge and experience, above all, his accuracy, as invariable as it is minute, have combined to make him, in the words of Professor Dowden, ‘our chief living authority on all that relates to Shelley’s writings.’ His name stands securely linked for all time to Shelley’s by a long series of notable words, including three successive editions (1876, 1882, 1892) of the Poems, an edition of the Prose Remains, as well as many minor publications—a Bibliography (“The Shelley Library”, 1886) and several Facsimile Reprints of the early issues, edited for the Shelley Society” (Preface to the Oxford Edition of The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Thomas Hutchinson ).