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BLACKSTONE, Sir William (1723--1780)
Commentaries on the laws of England. In four books. By William Blackstone, Esq. ... The eighth edition.
Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Printed for William Strahan, Thomas Cadell, and Daniel Prince, 1778.
4 vols ; 20.8 cm. (8º)
I: [6], ii, [8], 485, [1] p., engr. frontis. port.
II: [8], 520, xix, [1] p.
III: [8], 455, [1], xxvii, [1] p.
IV: [8], 443, [1], vii, [1], [54] p.

First published in 1765--69 in Oxford where the author was the foundation Vinerian professor of common law, Blackstone's Commentaries became 'the most celebrated, widely circulated and influential law book ever published in the English language' (ODNB). The frontispiece is signed as engraved by John Hall in 1777 from a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough dated 1774. With an index. The final leaf of vol. IV is a blank. ESTC t57763.

Copy Notes Inscribed in ink on the front free-endpaper of each volume John Soane / 1790; in volume III additionally Libels. / One by Indictment, the other / by Action on the case, with the corresponding page reference 125 on the facing pastedown, and another reference to page 140 on the front pastedown in vol. IV to another passage on libel. Soane was sensitive about perceived slights to his reputation and on several occasions issued proceedings for libel in pursuit of his grievances, such as that against Philip Norris for his authorship of the satirical skit The Modern Goth in 1796. For further details of this painful incident in Soane's career, see A.T. Bolton (ed.), The portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. (London 1927), pp. 59--79.

Binding C18th calf, blind roll-tooled borders, additional blind roll-tooling parallel to spine, without spine-labels, volume numbers stamped in ink on spines.

Reference Number 175


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