London, 1783-1816: George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, Printers. Hard Cover. Folio ( 12" X 18 ½"). The first four volumes are as follows; Vol. #1-382 leaves, Vol. #2-450pp.,Vol. #3- 570pp. (index vol.), Vol. #4-635pp. (supplement vol.). All are handsomely bound in 19th century ¾ calf over marbled boards, raised bands with contrasting red morocco labels gilt. Joints of two volumes expertly repaired; an exceptionally nice set and quite scarce as such. There are 26 blank leaves in volume one with a few leaves containing portions of text or text on the verso. It would appear that these leaves were left blank for illustrations which evidently never took place, perhaps because of the cost and manpower it would take to make it possible. [The projected cost and labor is noted in volume 3]. It does contain the later inserted title pages and contents leaves and, the four facsimile leaves are present in the last volume (the supplement), two displaying hand coloring. The first two volumes are printed on hand-made laid paper watermarked "J. Whatman" and coat-of-arms with the King's Initials "GR". The last two volumes printed on hand-made wove paper by Balston & C. all uncut and wide margined. The last page [cvii] of the general introduction of the third volume states: "It was not however till after 1770 that the work was actually commenced. It was completed early in 1783, having been ten years in passing through the press. The type with which it was executed was destroyed in the fire which consumed Mr. Nichols' printing-office in the month of February 1808." The book itself was proposed by Mr. John Nichols, and executed by Mr. Joseph Jackson and printed by George Eyre and Andrew Strahan. While title pages were added later and dated 1816, printed on the last page of volume three is the printers' names and date1811 and volume four is dated 1816. The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The Domesday Book project was a major undertaking employing many transcribers of the manuscripts and type makers to design the special type used. It is one of the most ancient records of England and represents an amazing accomplishment. It is the Register from which judgment was to be given upon the value, tenure, and services of the land. Another point on which the Domesday Survey throws considerable light, is the history of the ancient Castles which William erected everywhere. By the completion of this survey, the King acquired an exact knowledge of the possessions of the crown. It afforded him names of the land holders, and the means of ascertaining the military strength of the country. It also pointed out the possibility of increasing the revenue in some cases, and of lessening the demands of the tax collectors in others. The Domesday Book also left exact records behind which give historians today much data about Norman English life and the first appearance of English names. At the end of the introduction to volume four pertaining to the "Bolden Book", is a section considered to be the most important work of the supplement; it is from the Laud MSS. 542. Contained herein is a manuscript note stating; "This account of the 'Bolden Book' was written by me; I also transcribed MS. Laud, collated it with the others & prepared the whole for the press as it appeared in that volume. [signed] Adam Clarke. Adam Clarke was a noted commentator and theological writer who lived in London after 1805. He wrote English translations and new editions of other men's books, a bibliographical dictionary in six volumes and many other very important works during his lifetime. He was also a member of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Our only reasoning for this note is the fact that while Clarke transcribed the Laud MS. his name was not acknowledged as the transcriber and does not appear within the text. Only those either of high office or directly involved in its publication had their names included. [see DNB, Vol iv, p. 413] Provenance: Hudson Gurney of Keswick (1775-1864) his book with his signature on the front free endpaper of the first volume. (Inventory #: 6915)
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