The Microcosm of London

Or, London in Miniature.

ACKERMANN, R[udolph]

ONE OF THE GREAT COLOUR-PLATE BOOKS

ACKERMANN, R[udolph] The Microcosm of London Or, London in Miniature.

Ackermann, 1808.

First edition. Bound from the parts with the earliest state of the text, pages watermarked 1806-1807 and plates watermarked mainly 1807-1808 (one plate 1801). All errata uncorrected including the incorrect spelling of "coustomhouse" on p.218 (usually corrected, even in parts issues). Title and contents pages of vol I in the first state. Three volumes. 340x280mm. Half titles to each volume. Finely bound in full scarlet morocco by Morrell, with raised bands and gilt titles to the spine and seven concentric gilt ruled borders to the covers. Elaborately tooled turn ins, top edge gilt. Woodcut title and engraved dedication leaf in each volume, 104 hand-coloured aquatint plates after Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin, under tissue guards. Five of Abbey's key plates in the first state. Some sections of text in vol I browned, but plates all perfect, otherwise a beautifully fresh, tall copy with just the occasional offsetting.

Ackermann's first major colour-plate work, and a monument of colour printing, depicting Regency London in all its forms, from the extravagant opulence of its grandest buildings and aristocracy to overcrowded slums and workplaces of the poor.
It was issued by subscription in 26 monthly parts between 1808 and 1810, subsequently bound up in three volumes. 1000 copies are thought to have been issued for subscribers, but copies continued to be printed long after the conclusion of the serialisation. It is the initial printing, however, which "have a luminous quality entirely absent from later printings" (Abbey).
"The 'Microcosm of London' is one of the great colour-plate books, and a carefully selected copy should form the corner stone of any collection of book on this subject. The plates by Rowlandson and Pugin present an unrivalled picture of London in early 19th century." (Tooley)

PROVENANCE: Sir William Bass (1879-1952; bookplate to each pastedown; noted racehorse owner and member of the Bass brewing family).

Abbey Scenery 212; Tooley p.19

Stock ID: 36925

£8,500.00

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