London: Charles and Henry Baldwyn, 1819. Full Morocco. Very Good. Profusely extra-illustrated, with a handsome full morocco Riviere binding, signed by gilt turn-ins of each volume, and gilt tooled fleuron and volute cornerpiece decoration in spine compartments. 8vo. 24 by 14.5 cm. With 175 plates, 66 of which are in color. (Missing portraits of George Withers and Duns Scotus.) Even without the extra-illustration, this is a beautiful edition of Butler's classic mock epic, first published between 1663 and 1678. Emulating "Don Quixote", the work satirizes the hypocrises, pretensions and self-serving of the Presbyterians, represented by the title character, and the Independents, embodied most by the squire Ralpho. The two share humorous adventures that amply demonstrate their pedantry, greed, duplicity and cowardice while also showing the absurdity of their sectarian squabbles. The current set includes the copious notes of Zachary Grey (1688-1766), plus charming illustrations by John Thurston (1744-1822), a popular book illustrator in his time. Glazed endpapers. Rebacked professionally, with original spines laid on and the resulting repair being very inconspicuous, the only visible sign, and not a disconcerting one, being a very slight different in texture along the joint. Light edgewear. Scattered foxing, mostly light, with some plates more heavily afflicted. Notwithstanding these caveats, this remains a special and very attractive set, with great "curb appeal".
(Inventory #: 004997)
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