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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Encyclopædia Britannica; or, a dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature; constructed on a plan, by which the different sciences and arts are digested into the form of distinct treatises or systems, comprehending the history, theory, and practice of each, according to the latest discoveries and improvements; and full explanations given of the various detached parts of knowledge, whether relating to natural and artificial objects, or to matters ecclesiastical, civil, military, commercial, &c. Together with a description of all the countries, cities, principal mountains, seas, rivers, &c. throughout the world; a general history, ancient and modern, of the different empires, kingdoms, and states; and an account of the lives of the most eminent persons in every nation, from the earliest ages down to the present times. The third edition, in eighteen volumes, greatly improved. Illustrated with five hundred and forty-two copperplates. ...
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ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
Encyclopædia Britannica; or, a dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature; constructed on a plan, by which the different sciences and arts are digested into the form of distinct treatises or systems, comprehending the history, theory, and practice of each, according to the latest discoveries and improvements; and full explanations given of the various detached parts of knowledge, whether relating to natural and artificial objects, or to matters ecclesiastical, civil, military, commercial, &c. Together with a description of all the countries, cities, principal mountains, seas, rivers, &c. throughout the world; a general history, ancient and modern, of the different empires, kingdoms, and states; and an account of the lives of the most eminent persons in every nation, from the earliest ages down to the present times. The third edition, in eighteen volumes, greatly improved. Illustrated with five hundred and forty-two copperplates. ...
Edinburgh printed for A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar, 1797.
18 vols : engr. frontis., DXLII pl. ; 26.6 cm. (4º)

The Encyclopaedia Britannica was first published by the engraver Andrew Bell and the printer Colin Macfarquhar in 100 parts beginning in 1768, and as a three-volume set on completion in 1771. Originally intended to form a conservative counterpart to the French-language Encyclopédie of Diderot and d'Alembert (while no doubt benefiting by association with its title), the novelty of the work, compiled and edited by William Smellie, consisted in including longer synthesizing articles on the arts and sciences in addition to the shorter entries, in a single alphabetical sequence. The second edition was edited by James Tytler and published in syndicate with eight other Scottish publishers in instalments from 1777 to 1784 and in ten quarto volumes with imprints from 1778 to 1783. The present third edition was originally issued in installments between 1788 and 1797; the first twelve volumes up to the article 'Mysteries' were edited by Colin Macfarquhar, and the remaining volumes after his premature death by George Gleig, who also edited the Supplement to the third edition first published in 1801 (2nd ed., 1803, q.v.). This edition was the most informative general encyclopaedia in eighteenth-century Britain, comprising 14,579 pages of contributions by experts in their fields and 542 plates engraved by Bell, earning the Encylopaedia's reputation for excellence which continues to this day. The plates are numbered continuously with directions for their placement on the last page of each volume. See F.A. Kafker, 'The achievement of Andrew Bell and Colin Macfarquhar as the first publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica', British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 18 (1995), pp. 139–52. ESTC n6642; Alston III.563.

Copy Notes Bought from Floyer as a uniformly bound set with the Supplement to the third edition (q.v.) for £36 15s., 20 June 1803. (Acct Book 1792--1805, loose sheet). Engraved yellow paper label of 'Asperne, Bookseller, No: 32 Cornhill. Successor to Mr. Sewell.' on rear pastedown of vol. I.

Binding C19th diced russia calf, gilt double-ruled and roll-tooled borders, gilt-tooled spines, marbled edges to match the endpapers.

Reference Number 748


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