London: William Bulmer, Shakespeare Press, 1814-15. Item #03289
"One of the Principal Sources from which Illustrators of Ancient Costume have Derived their Material"
MEYRICK, Samuel Rush. SMITH, Charles Hamilton. The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of The British Isles, from the Earliest Periods to the Sixteenth Century; to which is added, that of the Gothic Nations on the Western Coasts of the Baltic, the Ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes. London: Printed by William Bulmer, Shakespeare Press, Published by R. Havell, 1815.
Large Paper Copy. Large folio (16 1/8 x 12 1/2 inches; 409 x 317 mm.). [viii], 59, [1, blank] pp. Twenty-five hand colored aquatint plates (including frontispiece). Plates watermarked 1810, text watermarked 1811. [together with]
SMITH, Charles Hamilton. Selections of the Ancient Costume of Great Britain and Ireland, from the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century, out of the collection in the possession of the author. London: Printed for William Bulmer, Shakespeare Press, for Messrs. Colnaghi and Co., 1814.
Large Paper Copy. Large folio (16 x 12 1/2 inches; 406 x 317 mm.). iii-viii, [2, list of subscribers], 60 leaves of text. Engraved dedication leaf and sixty-one hand colored aquatint plates (including frontispiece). Plates watermarked 1820 & 1824, text watermarked 1811. Title-page, preface (2 leaves), and the text to plates 6, 9, 10, 11, 15, 33, 34, 49, & 50 inlaid to size. Bound without the half-title and the list of plates/errata leaf.
Together two folio volumes, large-paper copies. Full contemporary red straight-grain morocco, covers decoratively paneled in gilt, spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board-edges and turn-ins, brown end-papers, all edges gilt. With the Armorial bookplate of Sir Joseph Radcliffe Bart. on front paste-downs. A remarkably fine set despite the later watermarks and twelve text leaves inlaid to size in The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of The British Isles…
The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of The British Isles: "This was one of a number of books that had been inspired by William Stukeley's work on Stonehenge, which had brought Druids and ancient Britons to the forefront of the romantic imagination. The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands and other works developed Stukeley's ideas within a strongly patriotic framework. The pictures of ancient Britons in these publications show a mixture of influences. In part they resemble the images of native Americans that appeared in early travel literature, but the figures are in poses like those of the classical gods that travellers saw in Greek and Roman sculptures while on the Grand Tour. In addition, they are shown wearing the ornaments and weapons that antiquaries were discovering and publishing in the Society of Antiquaries' journal Archaeologia and elsewhere. Bronze swords and rapiers, as well as torcs, socketed axes, and gold lunulae and brooches all appear in these imagined recreations of life in ancient Britain.
The speculation about the clothing of the early Britons and how they used the various objects is typical of these works. Smith's fanciful images include 'A Briton of the Interior' standing before an earthwork fort, tattooed Maaeatae and Caledonians from North Briton in front of a cromlech, and various Druid priests and bards. His speculations were based on earlier research by Meyrick." (British Museum).
Selections of the Ancient Costume of Great Britain and Ireland: This monumental work on costume was illustrated from drawings that Hamilton Smith made from his own collections, and then afterwards they were etched by John Augustus Atkinson who somewhat enlivened the sketches. His principal aim was to make it possible for the theater and painters to reproduce historical costume accurately. "In 1814 also Colnaghi and Company added to the books of costume Selections of the Ancient Costume of Great Britain and Ireland from the seventh to the sixteenth century, by Colonel Hamilton Smith. The sixty-one plates are all inscribed as 'etched by J.A. Atkinson,' who infused much of his own spirit into the original drawings. They are finished in colour aquatint by J. Hill, J. Merigot, and R. and D. Havell. The costumes represented are those of the seventh to the sixteenth century, and the figures wearing them are placed in appropriate surroundings. Hamilton Smith was a keen traveller, and in the intervals of his active military career he acumulated materials for numerous subjects of historical, zoological, and antiquarian research." (Martin Hardie, p. 154).
"These two books on the costume of Great Britain have ever since been one of the principal sources from which illustrators of ancient costume have derived their material, and it is scarcely possible to open any pictorial English history, or any work bearing on the dress and manners of our ancestors, without recognizing some group of figures appropriated or adapted from Smith's drawings." (Martin Hardie, p. 155).
References: Ancient Costume… Colas 2051, Lipperheide, 276, Tooley, 326, Abbey, Life in England, 427: Selections… Colas 2755, Lipperheide, 988, Tooley 457.