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Publii Virgilii Maronis Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis.



Publii Virgilii Maronis Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis.

Second Baskerville Edition. 4to. [309 x 240 x 35 mm]. [1]f blank, [5]ff, 103, [2], 105-231, 233-432 pp.Bound in contemporary red goatskin, the covers with a gilt fillet border. Smooth spine divided into seven panels by a gilt fillet, lettered in the second panel and at the foot, the edges of the boards tooled with a gilt fillet and the turn-ins with a gilt roll, marbled endleaves, gilt edges. (Joints and corners a little rubbed and refurbished).
Birminghamiae: typis Johannis Baskerville, 1757. [c.1770].

Gaskell, John Baskerville. A Bibliography, 2.

"Baskerville's first and perhaps his finest book is as complicated bibliographically as any that were to follow from his press. Work on the original edition was in hand by the beginning of 1754.... The book was published in 1757, probably in April, over three years since it had begun. There was a second edition, textually almost identical with the first, and also dated 1757. Clearly it was intended to be a facsimile of the first edition - it included the original list of subscribers - and, since Baskerville's Virgil was soon sought after by eighteenth-century collectors, it is arguable that it was intended to be sold dishonestly as the first edition. It is difficulet to say when it was printed. The later state of the type puts it at least two or three years after the original edition, and it is known that it existed in 1775 when it was mentioned with the implication that it was "false".

Between 1760 and 1775 it is unlikely to have been printed at any press other than Baskerville's, since he is not known to have sold such a wide range of his type to any other printer before his death on 8 January 1775. Another indication of the date of the second edition, although an uncertain one, lies in the paper on which it was printed. This is an unwatermarked Writing Royal laid paper, with chain lines 20 mm. apart, that has an unusual and distinctive opacity when held up to the light. The only other occasion on which this particular paper was used at Baskerville's press was in the octavo issue of the Ariosto (4 vols, 1773, but probably printed in 1770). It was commonly said, early in the nineteenth century, that the second edition was printed in 1771...".

This is a copy of the second edition, and can be identified by the position of the "J" of "Johannis" on the title. In the first edition this is between the "B" and the "I" of "Birminghamiae", in the second edition it is to the left of the "B". Gaskell notes that the second edition, unlike the first, is a rare book, and estimates it to be some twenty times less common. He had not seen a copy with a preliminary conjugate blank, but it is present in this copy. There is some browning or foxing, but it is a good copy in contemporary red morocco.

Armorial bookplate with motto "Invictus Maneo" and bookplate of Beresford V. Melville.

Stock no. ebc3189

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Price: £950