Stockdale's Aesop in Boards
Aesop. Fables, with a Life of the Author.
London: John Stockdale, 1793. First edition. Two volumes, tall octavo (or in the words of the publisher, "Elephant Octavo"). 285 x 180 mm (11 1/4 x 7 inches). One hundred and twelve engraved plates including vignette titles by Grainger, Bromley, Martin and others. Uncut and unopened in original boards with paper labels. Some typical browning or foxing, spines worn and becoming loose, very good.
An unusual survival in entirely original condition of this beautifully illustrated edition of Aesop, generally found rebound. The edition of Gay's Fables which was uniform with this set (and in fact advertised in this edition) has plates engraved by William Blake, and, though some of the plates here are unsigned, the occasional assertion of his involvement is unfounded. The illustrations were all based on those of Francis Barlow in his great edition of 1666 (which survives primarily in the reprint of 1687), with the clothing of the depicted humans updated to the late 18th century. (#kfk410)