London: William Pickering, 1832. First Edition thus. Cloth. First Pickering Edition (second edition overall; first published 1795), complete in two volumes. 8vo: viii, , [v]-cxxxv, ,148; vi,261,pp, with numerous woodcut illustrations (each tale with head- and tail-piece) by John and Thomas Bewick. Original brown ribbed cloth, covers decorated in blind with elaborate arabesques; spines ruled in blind and lettered in gilt, pale lemon end papers. Beautifully rebacked with original cloth spines laid down, else a Fine set, bindings firm and gilt bright, pages pristine (and largely unopened) without a trace of foxing, illustrations crisp. Tattersfield 2.543B. Menzies 1704. Lowndes 2098. Not in Roscoe. Fine. Item #BB1030
Originally published by Ritson,"who continued from time to time to make additions to his own copy, from which the present edition has been carefully printed. The original engravings, by the celebrated Bewick, have again been used; and from the improved art of wood-cut-printing, will be found superior in clearness and beauty to the first impression." (from the Advertisement). The editor of this edition, according to Lowndes, was Ritson's nephew, who added in the appendix the Tale of Robin Hood and the Monk, of which Ritson was unaware. Lowndes also concurs that the "woodcuts are better struck off and clearer." Joseph Ritson was an English antiquarian notorious for vicious and blistering criticisms of his literary contemporaries, including Thomas Warton (History of English Poetry) and, most famously, Samuel Johnson (the edition of Shakespeare produced with George Steevens in 1783 particularly irked Ritson). But the work upon which Ritson's fame rests—"his single greatest achievement"— is this exhaustive Robin Hood. "For many years he had attempted to collect all the ‘historical or poetical remains’ concerning Robin Hood, and his research was so thorough that only a handful of ‘remains’ of any significance have subsequently been discovered." (ODNB) Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. RARE; we locate only 2 other sets for sale worldwide.