London: printed for J. and R. Tonson, 1758. First Edition thus. Full Calf. First Annotated Edition, illustrated (grangerized) with the full suite of 32 double-page plates by William Kent for the 1751 edition of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, published by Stephen Wright and John Brindley (ESTC T35152). 4to: xlii,(68, including glossary),673,; 673pp, Illustrated with 32 double-page tab-mounted copperplate engravings by William Kent. Engraved armorial bookplates of John Moore Paget (1791-1866) on front paste-downs. Laid in are various manuscipt leaves, one on stationary of the Old Vicarage, Cuckfield, now a Grade II listed building, originally built in the early 17th century, rebuilt, in Georgian style, in 1780s, and finally altered in the nineteenth century. A magnificent set, printed on heavy paper and bound in contemporary full stained calf (joints very skillfully rebuilt), spine in six compartments between raised bands (four very richly gilt, two with red and black morocco lettering pieces gilt); decorative gilt rolls on thick board edges, page edges speckled red. A superb, perhaps unique, example, pages and plates pristine, crisp, fresh, and bright. Lowndes V, 2477 and III, 2477. Alston, III,101. Spenser Encyclopedia, pp. 389 (for Kent) and 706 (for Upton). . Fine. Item #BB1494
Upton's edition was the first attempt at an original-spelling and an annotated text. "The extensive notes, tracing sources and identifying historical personages, are still valuable; all later annotators are indebted to Upton's erudition." (Radcliffe, Spenser and the Tradition: English Poetry 1579-1830) William Kent was a skilled designer and decorator but a poor painter and draughtsman, and despite their energy and directness, his designs for The Faerie Queene are not wholly successful (they were severely criticised by Horace Walpole, in his Anecdotes of Painting in England). But the subjects represented contain many interesting reflections of Kent's involvement with picturesque gothic architecture and garden design, including such romantic structures as the Hermitage and Merlin’s Cave, a thatched, mock-gothic building housing a library for Queen Caroline at Richmond. John Moore Paget, of Cranmore Hall, Somerset, inherited from his father a "library of curious and valuable books [and] a decided taste for bibliology. A book-hunter from his youth, his constant delight in after life was to search old book-stalls, and add from time to time some scarce or quaint old work or rare engraving to his increasing collection." (Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 221, 1866). N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).