WILKINSON Londina Illustrata Robert Wilkinson, London, 1819.
2 vols. Imperial 4to. Half red morocco over marbled paper boards, gilt embossed title to spine, with thumbnail heraldic motifs to upper and lower covers; pp. , 180, pp. , 198 [2, index], with all 206 illustrations present (some bound out of order); a very good set with clean plates and minimal foxing, binding rubbed and scuffed in places, uniform fading to spines, with the bookplate of Henry Martin Gibbs to front endpaper of both volumes, small contemporary bookseller description pasted into vol 1.
This devastatingly thorough duo took the publisher over 20 years to assemble from sketches, references and memory, compiling a huge index of architecturally and culturally important London buildings, alongside information about their purposes and individual histories. The vast majority of the buildings in these books no longer exist, and so thorough was the research for this project that pictures of some of the buildings illustrated here can be found nowhere else, otherwise lost to time. Filled with beautiful scenes of an antiquated, different London, these books were frequently broken up into plates and scattered - they are rarely found together as a set, let alone in a complete state. Volume 2 has a particular focus on London theatres, their layout, and the design of the stages.