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ATHENIAN LETTERS ...
Athenian letters: or, the epistolary correspondence of an agent of the King of Persia, residing at Athens during the Peloponnesian war. A new edition; to which is prefixed a geographical index. In two volumes. Illustrated with engravings, and a map of antient Greece. ...
London: printed for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1798.
2 vols ; 27.0 cm. (4º)
I: lxii, [2], 436 p., engr. frontis. port., [1] fold. map, [7] engr. pl.
II: xv, [1], 466 p., engr. frontis. port., [5] engr. pl.

A collection of fictitious letters written by a group of twelve English authors, namely Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, his younger brother Charles Yorke, and ten of their friends. Each letter is signed with an initial only. The work was first printed in only ten copies for private circulation in 1741 and 1743. A later edition of one hundred copies followed in 1781. The identity of the authors was first made public in The Gentleman's Magazine (April 1784, p. 276) as follows: 'P.' = Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke; 'C.' = Charles Yorke; 'R.' = George Henry Rooke; 'G.' = John Green; 'W.' = Daniel Wray; 'H.' = Henry Heaton; 'E.' = William Heberden; 'O.' = Henry Coventry; 'L.' = John Lawry; 'T.' = Catherine Talbot; 'B.' = Thomas Birch; 'S.' = Samuel Salter.

This new edition, edited by Soane's patron Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, aimed to take advantage of the vogue for fictionalised history that followed the success of Abbé Barthélemy's Voyage du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce (1788, q.v). Soane had first met Yorke at Paestum in 1779 during his grand tour and was commissioned by him in the 1790s to make additions to his country seat at Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge. ESTC t84382.

Copy Notes Imperfect: wanting the half-titles in both volumes; the frontispiece portrait of the 2nd Earl of Hardwicke and plate of Alcibiades in volume I; and the plate of Aspasia in volume II. Bought from Joseph Bell for £2 12s. 6d., 12 June 1804. (Priv. Corr.XVI.E.1.6).

Binding C19th half calf, marbled-paper boards, gilt-ruled and lettered spines. Bound by Edwin Hutchinson for 9s., 5 January 1830. (Archive 7/14/40).

Reference Number 272


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