- London, England: W. Bulmer and Co. at the Shakespeare Press, 1817.
- small 4to.
- contemporary brown straight-grain morocco gilt by Charles Lewis with his binders stamped signature in volume one, vellum doublures and endpages, all edges gilt.
- (vi),vi,(ii),ccxxv,410,(2); (iv),535,(3); (iv),544,(4) pages.
Price: $5,500.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 26477
First and only edition, one of 50 large paper copies in which the text has been reimposed in quarto and with many of the plates and text illustrations in proof on India paper. (Jackson no.40; Hart no.186; Bigmore & Wyman I, 196; Updike II, 190; Windle and Pippin A28). The only edition as Dibdin destroyed the plates to this book at a meeting of the Roxburghe Club. Jackson states that this is perhaps the most lavish of all Dibdin's works, and, especially in the large paper edition, the best printed. He goes on to say that its publication "was a financial success and doubtless marks the high-water mark of the Dibdin bibliomania." Hart calls it "a bibliographer's classic that marks the beginning of the general recognition of bibliomania as a plaything for wealth." Updike calls it "one of the most successful typographical achievements of the early nineteenth century". The illustrations are spectacular. This set contains two extra plates of early manuscript illumination in volume one and, in volume three, a proof-before letters of the Maittaire - Meerman plate, the canceled Thomas Payne portrait, and the cancelled portrait on which Dibdin has written in pencil "Cancelled Plates: only 42 printed T.F.D." Some foxing. Lacking the 'Presentation in the Temple' plate which was not ready at publication and occurs in only a very few copies.
These volumes with the following discrepancies from Windle and Pippin:
W & P, p. 92: Item (2) faces cxii, not xcii.
W & P, p. 93: Item (10) faces cxxi, not clxxi; Item (11) faces cxxix, not clxxix; Item (12) faces cxxx, not clxxx; Item (14) faces ccx, not ccxi.
W & P, p. 94: Item (5) faces 459, not 458.
W & P p. 95: Item (1) faces 50, not 51; Item (5) lacking.
This volume includes two plates not described in Windle and Pippin. Engraving of Revd. Isaac Gosett faces p. 5; engraving of unnamed male facing p. 18.