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BEAUTIES ...
The beauties of England and Wales: or, original delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, of each county. Embellished with engravings. By Edward Wedlake Brayley and John Britton. ...
London: printed by Thomas Maiden, for Vernor, Hood & Sharpe; Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme; Cuthell & Martin; W. J. & J. Richardson; J. and A. Arch; J. Harris; and B. Crosby, 1801--15.
25 vols; 22.5 cm. (8°)
I: [4], 400, [16] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [29] pl.
II: 524, [24] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [23] pl.
III: 552, [22] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [31] pl.
IV: 560, [20] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [32] pl.
V: 736, [24] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [37] pl.
VI: 599, [25] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [26] pl.
VII: [7], 6--404, 405*--574*, [1], 406--612, [40] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [22] pl. : [1] woodcut ill.
VIII: [7], 612--1366, [46] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [33] pl.
IX: [5], iv--vi, [1], 6--808, [30] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [25] pl.
X,i: [8], 680, [66] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [1] pl.
X,ii: v, [1], 803, [61] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [22] pl.
X,iii: [4], 756, [24] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [31] pl.
X,iv: [3], vi--vii, [2], 10--752, [72] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [42] pl.
X,v: viii, 758, [54] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [52] pl.
XI: [4], 376, [1], 377--383; 184, [8]; 239, [17] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [38] pl.
XII,i: [2], 247, [9], 411, [5] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [21] pl.
XII,ii: vii, [1], 543, [23], 156, [4] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [25] pl.
XIII,i: viii, 616 p., add. engr. t.-pl., [29] pl.
XIII,ii: [2], 617--1201, [67] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [17] pl.
XIV: [4], 413, [11], 300, [8], 208, [10] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [35] pl. XV,i: viii, 718, [26] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [18] pl.
XV,ii: v, [1], 322, [22], 245, [7], 407, [9] p., [36] pl.
XVI: viii, 938, [20] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [26] pl.
XVII: [4], 959, [11] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [29] pl.
XVIII: viii, 917, [57] p., add. engr. t.-pl., [33] pl.

The beauties of England and Wales was conceived in the summer of 1799 by Edward Wedlake Brayley and John Britton whilst the two friends were on a walking tour connected with The beauties of Wiltshire, which Britton had been commissioned to write by the publishers Vernor and Hood. In 1801 two volumes of The beauties of Wiltshire (q.v.) and the first number of The beauties of England and Wales, being an account of Bedfordshire, were published. Most of the writing of volumes I to IX and of the first two parts of volume X was done by Brayley from books and information assembled by Britton, whose book on Wiltshire was republished as volume XV of the present work in 1814. In that year however Brayley retired in ill-health and was replaced by the Rev. Joseph Nightingale, a Unitarian minister who was assisted by J. Norris Brewer, Rev. J. Evans, Rev. J. Hodgson, F.C. Laird, Frederic Shoberl, John Bigland and Thomas Rees. John Harris became the principal shareholder in the venture after Hood's death in 1811. The original proposal to complete the work in about six volumes was a gross under-estimation of the task. The series, arranged alphabetically by county, in the end required 25 volumes and 17 years to complete. (See B. Adams, London illustrated 1604--1851, 1983, no. 104, pp. 234--7; BAL Early printed books, no. 231.) According to Britton, the publishers' unwillingness to include antiquities in The beauties of England and Wales prompted him to compile and publish his Architectural antiquities, 1807--14 (q.v.), and Cathedral antiquities series, 1816--36 (qq.v.), and Brayley to embark on his popular Antiquarian and topographical cabinet, 1807--11 (see Britton's autobiographical memoir in The beauties of Wiltshire, vol. III, 1825, pp. xxxvi--vii). J.N. Brewer's Introduction to the original delineations ... intituled The beauties of England and Wales, 1818 (q.v.), was regarded by its publishers as the concluding volume of The beauties of England and Wales.

In this set the binder's directions for placing the plates in the text have been disregarded, all the plates (including the added engraved title-plates) being bound up separately in four additional volumes, the last containing also the final list of plates (pp. [14]) which the binder had been instructed to place at the end of vol. XVIII "to serve as a reference for the subscribers". Some plates are marked 'Proof'. The title-pages to parts iv and v of vol. X refer to these volumes as 'Vol.X. Continuation Of Part III.' and 'Vol X. Part IV.' respectively; the title-plates, however, designate these as parts iv and v of vol. X, and this more logical sequence is followed by the binder in the numbering on the spines in the Soane set.

Copy Notes Imperfect; vol. XII wanting one plate of Oxford High Street. The Soane copy matches the collation given for BAL 231 but with the following variations: 1) The index to vol. IV ends on leaf 2P2v and there is no corrigenda / addenda leaf; 2) In vol. VIII there is an 'Advertisement' leaf signed and dated 'E.W. Brayley. ... December, 1807.'; 3) There is no corrigenda leaf (leaf 3G8) in vol. IX; 4) Volume X, part i includes an extra 'distinct Title-page' identifying it as vol. I of Brayley's London and Middlesex, 1810--16, issued 'for the conveniency of those who may wish to purchase' this part separately; 5) The pro tempore lists of plates in vol. X, part iv (leaf 3A*4) and vol. XI (leaf 3Q4) are uncancelled; 6) 'Monmouthshire' is bound after 'Norfolk' in vol. XI; 7) The errata/list of plates (leaf 3P8) in vol. XVI is not present. Bought from Britton for £28 5s. on 18 June 1812. (Jnl 5, p. 230.)

Binding C19th diced russia, gilt-rule borders and spine, marbled edges and endpapers. Matching the copy of Brewer's Introduction to ... The beauties of England and Wales, 1818 (q.v.). Binding bill for 8s. paid to Hood & McCullock on 23 August 1826. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.12).

Reference Number 1657


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