176974 · Glasgow
In Western culture, the production of small, easily portable printed books of important or popular texts dates from the late 15th century and saw its first important and influential printer willing to dedicate his press to such productions with Aldus Manutius' issuing his series of standard texts in the early 16th century. In the 17th century the Elzevir family came to dominate that market. While the Foulis brothers and their press did not dominate the same way, in the 18th century, they did devote a goodly portion of their time to producing small, scholarly, handsome pocket editions of mostly British poets and essayists.
As a center of 18th-century learning, Glasgow was a happy fit for a printing house dedicated to quality productions made with exceptional type. Robert (1707–76) and Andrew (1712–75) Foulis, two leaders in the renaissance of British printing, are often referred to as the "Elzevirs of Britain." They created hundreds of texts on a variety of topics and in several languages. Among their notable "firsts" were the first Greek text published in Glasgow and the first work of the English Divines published in Gaelic.
These uniformly bound poetry imprints date from the later years of the brothers' press before Robert's son took over the family business, which lasted until 1800. Their small format meant they could travel easily in the owner's pocket for enjoyment away from his library: while in a coffee house, tavern, or travelling. The collection in hand offers 14 authors represented in 21 different texts, 6 of which are the first or only appearance of the work from the Foulis Press, and includes the following:
*Dryden, John, translator. The works of Virgil. 1769. 3 vols. Variant according to Gaskell. *Thomson, James. The seasons. 1769. Variant according to Gaskell. *Addison, Joseph. Poems on several occasions. 1770. *Shenstone, William. The select works in verse and prose. 1770. *Gay, John. Poems on several occasions. 1770. 2 vols. Variant according to Gaskell. *Pope, Alexander, translator. The Iliad of Homer. 1771. 4 vols. *Prior, Matthew. Poems on several occasions. 1771. 2 vols. *Young, Edward. The complaint: or, night-thoughts on life, death, and immortality. 1771. 2 vols. *Young, Edward. Poems on several occasions. 1771. *Dryden, John, translator. Fables antient and modern. 1771. 2 vols. *Denham, John. Poems and translations. 1771. *Collins, William. The poetical works of Mr. William Collins. To which are added Mr. Hammond's Elegies. 1771. *Garth, Samuel. The poetical works of Sir Samuel Garth, M. D. 1771. *Akenside, Mark. The pleasures of imagination. 1771. *Gay, John. The beggar's opera. 1772. *Milton, John. Paradise lost, a poem in twelve books. 1771. 2 vols. *Milton, John. Paradise regain'd. 1772. 2 vols. *Pope, Alexander, translator. The odyssey of Homer. 1772. 3 vols. Variant according to Gaskell. *Parnell, Thomas. Poems on several occasions. 1773. *Thomson, James. Poems. 1774. *Thomson, James. Liberty, a poem. 1774.
=> A full list with pagination and illustration information as well as ESTC and Gaskell numbers is available on request. All volumes uniformly bound in 18th-century polished calf, spines with raised bands, gilt ruling, and gilt lettering on leather labels; a beautiful "long shelf of short books" with spines slightly faded, slightest rubbing, occasional instances of a bit of leather lost to old worm along a joint or an abrasion to a spine or cover; all edges speckled red. Offsetting from turn-ins onto endpapers, pencil annotations in one volume, touch of ink at foremargin of three leaves of another; signatures trimmed closely on third volume of Virgil, first volume of Milton's Paradise Lost "bookmarked" with two paper scraps bearing manuscript annotations, skeleton frontispiece of Young's "Night Thoughts" with an inch-long internal, closed tear to background with no loss, and the maps to Pope's Iliad and Dryden's Virgil in excellent condition. => A handsomely bound, sturdy, and appealing representative collection of the Foulis Press. (Inventory #: 35997)