London: John Murray, 1835. Item #04385
"The Greatest Biography Written in English"
With all Twenty of the Engraved Plates Colored by Hand
Extra-Illustrated with an Additional Nineteen Hand-Colored Engraved Plates
Superbly Bound ca. 1920 by Bayntun of Bath
BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Including a Journal of His Tour to the Hebrides… To which are added, Anecdotes by Hawkins, Piozzi, Murphy, Tyers, Reynolds, Steevens, &c. And notes by various hands. London: John Murray, 1835.
First Illustrated Edition, Croker's Second Edition.
Ten small octavo volumes (6 3/8 x 4 inches; 163 x 101 mm.), including two volumes of Johnsoniana. xxiv, 325, [1, imprint]; viii, 344; ix, [1, blank], 323, [1, imprint]; xii, 343, [1, imprint], [1, title-page], [1, blank]; viii, 341, [1, imprint]; viii, 342, [1, title-page], [1, blank]; viii, 381, [1, imprint]; xi, [1, blank], 431, [1, imprint], [1, title-page], [1, blank]; xv, [1, blank], 335, [1, imprint]; xii, 376 pp.
Each volume with a hand-colored engraved frontispiece and an additional hand-colored vignette title, all engraved by Edward Francis Finden (1791-1857). In addition there are nineteen hand-colored plates, (portraits and views), a folding map of "The Tour through Scotland and the Hebrides… in 1773" (volume IV), a folding facsimile "Round Robin" (volume VI), and six folding facsimile letters.
Bound ca. 1920 by Bayntun of Bath (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-ins). Full purple morocco, covers elaborately tooled in gilt in a geometric pattern. Spines with five raised bands, elaborately tooled in gilt in compartments, decorative gilt board edges and turn-ins, marbled endpapers all edges gilt. A superb set.
"This was the first illustrated edition. Each volume has at the beginning two excellent steel engravings (a frontispiece and an extra [vignette] title-page). The first volume also has another [double-page hand-colored] engraving [Remarkable Characters who were at Tunbridge Wells…] at p.218." (Pottle).
The additional hand-colored portraits include: Edward Cave; Henry Thrale; James Oglethorpe; Samuel Johnson; Flora McDonald; Michael Johnson; Revd. Owen Cambridge; Thomas Warton; Warren Hastings; Topham Beauclerk.
The additional hand-colored views include: Lichfield; Grammar School, Litchfield; Edial Hall, Near Litchfield; Residence of the Rev. Francis Wise at Ellsfield near Oxford; Residence of Thomas Davies, Covent Garden; Residence of George Steevens, Hampstead Heath; Dr. S. Johnson's House, Bolt Court, Fleet Street; Kettel Hall, Oxford; Residence of Catherine Clive, Twickenham;
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (first published in 1791) is a biography of Dr. Samuel Johnson written by James Boswell. The work was a popular and critical success when first published. It is regarded as an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography; many have claimed it as the greatest biography written in English, but some modern critics object that the work cannot be considered a proper biography. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. The biography takes many critical liberties with Johnson's life, as Boswell makes various changes to Johnson's quotations and even censors many comments. Nonetheless, modern biographers have found Boswell's biography an important source of information on Johnson and his times.