by (SMITH, Joseph)
Finely engraved coat-of-arms on title. Title printed in red & black. 4 p.l., xliii, dxix (i.e. dxvii), , cccxlviii (i.e. ccclii),  pp. Thick large 4to, orig. publisher's vellum over boards, fleuron in gilt in center of covers with gilt fleurons in each corner, double gilt fillet round sides, spine gilt, brown morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. Venice: Typis J.B. Pasquali, 1755. Third edition and the first complete edition of the catalogue of Smith's magnificent collection of incunabula and a few early manuscripts. Smith (1682-1770), was British Consul at Venice and, in 1765, sold his superb library to George III for 10,000 pounds. It thus became the nucleus of the "King's Library" and of the British Museum (now Library). This copy has the 352-page Appendix which reprints in full some 200 prefaces, dedications, and epilogues contained in incunabula - a unique anthology. Smith's library was rich in incunabula, early printed books, Italian literature, history, art, architecture, and antiquities. Horace Walpole sneered at Smith as "the merchant of Venice" who knew nothing of his books save their title-pages, but the censure is quite undeserved. Fine copy in the original publisher's binding. ❧ Gustave Brunet, Dictionnaire de Bibliologie Catholique, col. 625. De Ricci, pp. 54-55. Taylor, Book Catalogues, pp. 261-62.
(Inventory #: 2614)