A History of the University of Oxford; Its Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings. In Two Volumes

The Dedication Copy:
That of Lord Grenville, PM, and Chancellor of Oxford
One of Twenty-Five Large Paper Copies With Hand-Colored Plates

ACKERMANN, Rudolph. A History of the University of Oxford. Its Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings. In Two Volumes. London: R. Ackermann, 1814.

First edition, earliest state of plates, large paper copy, second issue? List of Plates (with the 'Founders'); Lord Grenville's copy, one of twenty-five (of fifty) large paper copies on thick paper with hand-colored plates. Two elephant quarto volumes (16 x 12 1/2 in; 407 x 320 mm). xxv, [1, blank], 275, [1, blank], [6, index]; [2], 300, [6, index] pp. With the list of subscribers, the dedication to Lord Grenville and the uncolored engraved portrait of Lord Grenville mounted on India paper (portrait a little foxed). 114 plates including the thirty-three portraits of Founders and seventeen costume plates, all hand-colored aquatints or stipple-engravings by Bluck, Stadler, Hill and others after Pugin, Westall, Mackenzie and others. Bound without the half-titles. Most plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1811;" all watermarked no later than 1814.

Handsome contemporary russia with elaborate gilt borders and central Grenville arms in gilt. Expertly rebacked with gilt spines decorated in compartments. All edges gilt. With mounted ALS dated November 20, 1840.
Edges of boards a little rubbed or worn. Still an extraordinarily fine copy.

The Dedication Copy, that of Lord Grenville (1759 - 1834), Prime Minister of Great Britain 1806-1807, Chancellor of Oxford 1810 through the publication of this book until his death, and Subscriber herein:

"To William Wyndham Grenville Lord Grenville, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, This history of its Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings, Is dedicated, with the utmost respect, By His obedient Servant, R. Ackermann" (Dedication page).

The Dedication Copy possesses three of Tooley's five points for "really choice copies": Plate 50, Vol. II, with aquatinting to space between images; Plate 56, Vol. II, engraved by Bluck; watermarks no later than date of publication. The points, though, are, ultimately, academic and incidental; this is, after all, Lord Grenville's copy, with the strongest association possible. They don't get any better…

This, the dedication copy, in its original special binding puts into question the other two of Tooley's points…

1. Did the very first issues really have half-titles? - this is the Dedication copy and there are no signs
of anything having been removed!
2. Did the very first issues actually have the misprint "Cambridge" for "Oxford" on the first plate in volume one?

And furthermore Abbey and Tooley both state that the first issue of 'the list of plates' in the Oxford does not have the
'Founders' listed… again - this is the Dedication copy and the 'Founders' are listed!

"These two books [Ackermann's History of Oxford and History of Cambridge] are among the finest ever executed. A. Pugin, F. Nach, F. Mackenzie, and W. Westall were associated in the drawings, which are worthy even of the splendid architectural monuments they commemorate, while the engraving was carried out by such masters of aquatint as J. Bluck, J.C. Stadler, F.C. Lewis, D. Havell and others of like reputation. The result was the production of plates of unequaled merit in their particular line" (Prideaux, pp. 125-6).

The ALS, mounted to the front free endpaper of Volume I, is by ecclesiastical historian and Oxford graduate, Edward Cardwell, to the Rt. Hon.C.W. Wynn, Oxford graduate, MP, and nephew of Lord Grenville. Cardwell acted as tutor and lecturer at Oxford, and from 1814 to 1821 was one of the university examiners. In 1818 he was appointed Whitehall preacher by Bishop Howley, and in 1823 select preacher to the University of Oxford. He was elected Camden professor of ancient history in 1825, and was appointed by Lord Grenville, as chancellor, to succeed Archbishop Whately in 1831 as principal of St Alban Hall, Oxford. In the note Cardwell reports that a new portrait (1840) of Lord Grenville by Thomas Phillips now attractively hangs in the Oxford University Gallery and asks Wynn to relay the information to Lady Grenville.

Abbey, Scenery, 278; Tooley 5; Prideaux pp. 125-6. Item #01818

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