BEWICK, John. Emblems of Mortality; representing in upwards of fifty cuts, Death seizing all ranks and degrees of people. Imitated from a painting in the cemetery of the Dominican Church at Bas[i]l in Switzerland: With an apostrophe to each, translated from the Latin and French. Intended as well for the information of the curious, as the instruction and entertainment of youth. To which is prefixed a copious preface, containing an historical account of the above, and other paintings on this subject, now or lately existing in divers parts of Europe. Printed for T. Hodgson. 1789.
12mo pages laid into small 4to. Full C19th morocco lettered in gilt on spine. Wood engraved frontispiece and 51 text illustrations by John Bewick after Holbein. A few leaves cropped at the tail, the deficiencies supplied in skilful MS facsimile, ink smudge on plates 2 and 3 to censor offensive anatomy. Bookplate and two booksellers' descriptions on front paste-down, a little occasional browning, a little spotting to binding, otherwise a very good copy.
First Bewick edition. The illustrations in this both have been attributed to both Thomas Bewick and his brother John, but it is believed that they are in fact entirely the work of John Bewick. The woodcuts are faithful copies of Holbein's designs, except for the first, The Creation which contained a figure of the Deity habited as a Pope, and in deference to Protestant sentiment was changed for an original design.
A 28-page Preface by the editor, J.S. Hawkins relating the history of the various Dance of Death versions precedes the illustrations.