Robin Hood: A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, Songs and …
Robin Hood: A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, Songs and …
Robin Hood: A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, Songs and …

[RITSON, Joseph, Ed.]. Robin Hood: A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, Songs and Ballads, now Extant, relative to that celebrated English Outlaw: to which are prefixed Hi….

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A Heroic Outlaw, with a Scott Connection.

[RITSON, Joseph, Ed.] Robin Hood: A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, Songs and Ballads, now Extant, relative to that celebrated English Outlaw: to which are prefixed Historical Anecdotes of his life… London: Printed for T. Egerton, Whitehall, and J. Johnson, St. Paul's-Church-Yard, 1795.

8vo., 2 vols; 19th century calf ruled and panelled in blind to both covers; stoutly rebacked, with new contrasting black leather labels to spines; gilt turn-ins; all edges gilt; rust-coloured endpapers; pp. [iv], cxviii, [iii], 2-167, [i]; [vii], 2-220, [vi] complete with half-titles; containing corrections and additional notes; illustrated throughout with wood engraved chapter headings, vignettes, head and tail pieces; with original boards and turn-ins rather rubbed; some pen and pencil annotations to fly-leaves, along with evidence of a bookplate having been removed from the ffep of each volume; small catalogue clipping describing the book tipped in to ffep of Vol. I, others tipped in loosely (not all referring to this example); previous ownership name in ink to title of both volumes; some very light spotting to prelims and a few corner creases, else internally very clean and bright. Provenance: C.1900 Book plate of Robert Washington Oates to front paste-down..
First edition. The engravings have been attributed to Thomas and John Bewick.
John Ritson was an English antiquary best known for his works of poetical antiquarianism and his contribution to English poetical knowledge. He was born in 1752 in Stockton-on-Tees, and settled in London as a conveyancer at the age of 22. Much of his spare time was devoted to Literature, and this, his collection of the Robin Hood ballads, is perhaps his greatest single achievement. The compilation remained unchanged, unchallenged and unimproved for more than a century, and is still one of the favoured works of Robin Hood valued today. As an editor, Ritson was predisposed to favour Robin Hood: the heroic outlaw who was on the side of the poor fitted in well with his political values, and he was a staunch supporter of the French Revolution.
The bookplates to the front paste-downs belong to R.W. Oates, a relative of Captain Laurence Oates, who died heroically with Robert Scott in their doomed attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1912. In the 1950s, R. W. Oates helped to secure Gilbert White's house at Selbourne, as a joint memorial to the naturalist and to his cousin.

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