The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature
The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature

ACKERMANN. The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature.

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ACKERMANN The Microcosm Of London; or, London in Miniature. London: Printed by T. Bensley for R. Ackermann, [1806-1810].

Large square folios, 3 vols.; contemporary quarter red morocco over marbled paste-paper boards, decorativelty ruled in gilt and blind; spine gilt in compartments with contrasting black leather bands gilt and lettering direct in gilt to spine; speckled edges; matching marbled endpapers; half titles, printed and engraved full-page titles complete in all three volumes; green ribbon markers; pp. [vi], [i], ii-iv, [i], 4-231, [vii]; [vi], [i], iv-vi, [i], 2-239, [vii]; [vi], [i], iv, [i], 2-280, [xii]; containing all 104 full-page and beautifully handcoloured aquatint plates by Ackermann, collated and all present and correct; the plates offset onto the facing page of text, as usual, binding worn, rubbed and scratched, but holding firm, some cracking to the leather along the spines; some light spotting to prelims and very marginal toning of the paper stock; perhaps a little shaky in the binding, but holding firm. Provenance: Bequest label from Alfred Corning Clark to his son, dated 1896, to the front paste-down, along with the crest of Elihu Phinney (with pen annotation saying it was purchased from this estate in 1878), and the Ex-Libris of F.Ambrose Clark; Corning Clark's name in ink to one of the ffep in all three volumes.
First editions all, with the text from 1806-7 and the plates from 1806-8. Microcosm of London was Ackermann's first major colour-plate work, originally issued in parts, and this copy has seven of Abbey's 'Key' plates in the first state.
The first two volumes were written by William Henry Pyne, with the third composed by William Combe, all of whom focused primarily on the history of London rather than its aesthetics. "The book was issued in twenty-six monthly parts, each part containing four plates, and at 7s. a part, a price that was advanced early on to 10. 6d. for non-subscribers. A thousand sets are said to have been issued, a statement that may be correct for the original part publication, but must be considerably short of the final number, when bound sets distributed later are taken into account" (Abbey).
One of the most famous colour plate books showing the scenes of London from the early 19th century, and the cornerstone for almost all collectors of books on this subject. The plates show a huge array of landscapes, scenes and historical events, including the great fire of London, the West India Docks, Sadlers Wells, the Bank of England, Covent Garden Market, the East India Company and the House of Lords . Many of the buildings pictured here no longer exist, further offering a rare insight into the architectural layout of our capital city at the beginning of the 19th century. Each plate was drawn by Rowlandson, the English artist and caricaturist of the Georgian Era, noted particularly for his political satire and social observation, with the figures added by Augustus Pugin. Pugin's work culminated in the design of the interior of the Palace of Westminster in Westminster, London, but he is perhaps best remembered for the renowned clock tower, the Elizabeth Tower (formerly St Stephen's Tower), which houses Big Ben.
With so many copies broken up to sell as individual images, it is becoming increasing rare to find all three volumes complete thus.
Abbey 212; Tooley 7.

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