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COXE, Peter, auctioneer (d. 1844)
The social day: a poem, in four cantos. By Peter Coxe. Illustrated with thirty-two engravings.
London:, printed by J. Moyes, for James Carpenter & Son, and R. Ackermann,, 1823.
[3], vi--x, [3], xii--xvi, 354 p., 32 pl. ; 26.2 cm. (8°)

Coxe was a writer, poet and auctioneer and a personal friend of Soane. He wrote verses 'To Sir John Soane, Royal Academician' (q.v.) commemorating his knighthood, and Soane's library includes a number of Coxe's sale catalogues. The copy described is a subscriber's copy of the 'Large Paper' edition with 'proof' impressions of the plates on india paper and a duplicate set in early (mostly before letters) states bound in at the end. The numbered plates include a frontispiece and an added engraved title-plate. With an unpaginated list of subscribers, list of additional subscribers, errata leaf and list of plates bound after the Preface. Plate 31 'The broken jug' by Wilkie, engraved by Warren, was apparently the first steel engraving to appear in a book. (See Basil Hunnisett, Steel-engraved book illustration in England, London 1980, pp. 28-29). A prospectus for the work was printed probably in 1813 (q.v.) announcing publication 'early in the Spring of 1814', later emended in ink to '1815' and finally '1817'.

Copy Notes Soane had initially subscribed for an 'ordinary' copy, to judge from the list of subscribers printed in the [1813?] prospectus (q.v.). By the time the work finally appeared however, ten years later, he had evidently decided to pay a further two guineas to upgrade this to a large paper copy with so-called proof plates on india paper. At some later stage, but almost certainly before mid-1831 when the present copy was re-bound by Edwin Hutchinson (see Priv. Corr. XVI.E.7.16), a set of genuinely early impressions of the plates (without captions, some unsigned) was acquired and duly inserted at the end of the volume. The most probable reason for this retrospective 'improvement' of Soane's copy is that it arose out of Coxe's gratitude to Soane for agreeing to cancel his loan of £100 towards the publication costs of a book that seems to have been beset with difficulties from its very inception, culminating in the loss of 311 copies in a fire at the printers (see Coxe's letter to Soane dated 11 February 1828, Priv. Corr. I.C.27.1).

Unfortunately the bad luck affecting this book did not end there as far as Soane's copy was concerned. Sometime before 1850 - when Joseph Bonomi noted the fact on the ex-libris - the india paper impressions in this copy came detached from their supporting leaves and, with a few exceptions, disappeared. Only pl. 7, 15, 16, and 23 are unaffected. The frontispiece portrait of the author, calligraphic title-plate and pl. 22 have been rather clumsily returned into their proper places. All the other india paper impressions are wanting. It would seem that either the printing of the plates was faulty or the volume was subjected at some time to damp, causing the india paper to lift.

Binding C19th calf, gilt double-ruled borders and spine, black morocco spine-label. Bound by Edwin Hutchinson for 4s., 2 August 1831. (Priv. Corr.XVI E.7.16, bookbinding).

Reference Number 1997

Additional Names Hutchinson, Edwin; Coxe, Peter (1753?--1844)

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