1823 · London
First edition of these entertaining, historically informed meditations on the quirks and peculiarities of heraldic issues such as the niceties of the usage of "Lady" before and after marriage, the symbolism and history of wigs, and the nature of academic titles. A whole chapter is dedicated to Quakers, who reject all worldly titles.
Though Nares is quite capable of picking nits with a level of scrupulousness to match that of the most pedantic of scholars, he is also prone to flights of fancy such as pondering — after noting that a married woman's moveable goods are unquestionably the property of her husband — "whether the female tongue is to be reckoned among the moveables . . . I believe it is pretty generally held to continue in potestate Mulieris,' even after marriage, and I know nothing to prevent it" (p. 148). This is followed up with references to Ovid, the Wife of Bath, and the much-storied Flitch of Bacon! Contemporary half calf with marbled paper sides, spines with gilt-stamped helm decorations and gilt-stamped leather title and volume labels (the volume labels recently supplied, in sympathetic style). Board edges showing light to moderate wear, with leather cracking at joints and crackled over the spines generally. Top edges gilt. Front pastedowns with bookplates now partially torn away; title-page of vol. II with an early inked ownership inscription in the upper margin. Delightful reading, as well as an overall attractive set. (Inventory #: 10358)