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BRITTON, John (1771--1857)
The beauties of Wiltshire, displayed in statistical, historical, and descriptive sketches: interspersed with anecdotes of the arts. Vol. I. (II., III.)
London: printed by J.D. Dewick, for Vernor and Hood; J. Wheble; J. Britton; and sold by all booksellers in the United Kingdoms, 1801--25.
3 vols ; 24.2 cm. (8°)
I: xxxi, [1], 312 p., add. engr. t.-pl., engr. frontis., [5] pl.
II: xi, [1], 311, [1] p., add. engr. t.-pl., engr. frontis., [7] pl.
III: lxi, [3], 443, [3] p., add. engr. t.-pl., engr. frontis., fold. hand-coloured map, [13] pl.

The publishing history of The beauties of Wiltshire is recounted in Britton's autobiographical memoir which takes up much of the preface to volume III. The work was initiated in 1784 by John Wheble, the proprietor of The Sporting Magazine to which John Britton was an occasional contributor. Wheble, unable to undertake the project himself, entrusted it to Britton, a fellow Wiltshireman with no experience as a topographer. In 1799 he was commissioned by the publishers, Vernor and Hood to write the book, whereupon he and his friend Edward Wedlake Brayley (1773--1854) set off on their first walking tour. This experience encouraged the authors to compile 'statistical, historical, and descriptive sketches' of the remaining counties in The beauties of England and Wales (q.v.). The final two pages of vol. III advertise Britton's Cathedral antiquities series, 1814--35 (qq.v.) and his Architectural antiquities of Great Britain, volumes I--IV, 1807--14 (q.v.). BAL Early printed books, no. 395.

Copy Notes Bought from Britton for 4 guineas on 13 December 1825 (Priv. Corr. III.B.1.123). Though a large paper set with 'proofs' of the plates also costing 4 guineas was included in an undated list of books sent to Soane by Britton (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.5.1), this is not now in the library and was presumably never acquired.

Binding C19th quarter brown linen cloth, brown paper-boards, red spine-labels.

Reference Number 1778


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