London: David Bogue, 1848. Leather bound. Quarto size, approx. 107 pp. Near fine. Item #19072603
This volume collects portraits of the myriad women featured in Shakespeare's plays; following the engravings are excerpts from the plays, focusing on each woman's dialogue, providing not only an interesting character study but also a look at the diversity of female characters in Shakespeare's work.
What is outstanding about this work are the quality of the engravings, making the portraits almost life-like through the skillful use of the engraving tools and methods (see more about the engravings below); and the incredible freshness of the pages, the paper bright, the images clear, almost every plate free of foxing, dampstaining, or soiling - uncommon in books of this age.
The portraits are taken from various artists and were engraved "under the direction of" Charles Theodosius Heath (1785-1848), a commercial engraver and, at times, a book illustrator and publisher. Heath and his half-brother George worked with an American who invented "siderography", a steel-engraving technique. Heath was a man of both artistic and commercial talents; he sought out new markets, being the "driving force behind, and contributor to, the new genre of the literary annual. He established his own annual, 'The Keepsake', first published at the end of 1827" (n.b., quote from Wiki).
___DESCRIPTION: Full brown leather, ruled borders and floral patterns embossed on the front and rear boards with the debossed area in a darker brown, title in gilt within an oval on the front and rear boards, the spine with five raised bands, dark brown ruled borders, and gilt lettering, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers in red, yellow, black, and blue, frontispiece a black-and-white engraving captioned "Ophelia", with thin paper guard, full-page black-and-white engravings with thin paper guards throughout; quarto size (10.75" by 7.25"), pagination: [i-iii] iv-vi [vii] [approx. 100 unnumbered pages].
___CONDITION: Near fine overall, with clean boards, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the plates collate complete with all tissue guards present, and the interior is clean and bright; while the boards are clean with smooth, supple leather the spine shows light rubbing, the joints are lightly rubbed with a tiny amount of loss at the head and tail of the spine, the corners all somewhat rubbed, light soiling and creasing to some of the thin paper guards throughout, with a tear to the bottom corner of the thin paper guard for "Lavinia", and a small pen mark to the thin paper guard of the frontispiece. A volume whose binding is better than very good with a near fine to fine interior, a lovely copy.
___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an unusally heavy volume and additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.
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