Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters of Remarkable Persons,

CAULFIELD James (1794-5)

£3500.00  [First Edition]

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from the Reign of Edward the third to the Revolution. Collected from the most Authentic Accounts extant.


First Edition. Two Volumes. 8vo (235 x 150mm). iv, 96; [2], 97-173pp., 62 engraved plates [one loosely inserted - see below]. Some off-setting from the plates in both volumes, a little browning and spotting in places, neat repair to the blank verso of the engraved leaf opposite p.151, closed tear around the plate mark of the leaf opposite p.143. Early 19th-century straight grained red morocco by George Mullen of Dublin [with his orange binder's ticket in the upper fore-corner of the pastedown of volume 1], covers ruled in gilt and tooled in blind, central panel with an intersecting lozenge design, spine tooled and lettered in gilt, dark blue endpapers, gilt edges (rubbed at the headcaps and joints, corners a little worn).


London: for J. Caulfield...and Isaac Herbert [Vol I] and Messrs Harding [Vol II], 1794-5

ESTC records only Iowa State University and University of Waterloo (Ontario) only in North America. There is also a copy at Harvard and volume one only at Yale. An edition of 1813 in 3 volumes (with 109 plates) was supplemented by a 4-volume continuation "from the Revolution in 1688 to the end of the reign of King George III" (1819-20).


Biographies of "remarkable" people accompanied by an engraved copy of a portrait. Bound by George Mullen of Dublin.


First edition, published from the parts issued between 1790 and 1795. The 62 plates were individually published by Caulfield and were also available separately, those in this collection are dated from 1792-1795. In this copy the portrait of Captain Morgan in volume 1 seems never to have been bound in (to judge by the lack of an offset on its opposite page, typical of all the other plates), and it is supplied here and loosely inserted. 


James Caulfield (1764-1826) was a London printseller but such was the demand from collectors for early engraved portraits to illustrate sets of the Rev. James Granger's Biographical History of England and other works that he began to produce copies of earlier engravings and woodcuts and portrait paintings. The portraits here are of "remarkable persons" found in Granger's "Class XII (Persons remarkable from a single Circumstance in their Lives)" of which original prints were the hardest to find. The subjects include: Matthew Hopkins ("Witch Finder Generall"), William Lithgow (the traveller), Mary Davis ("A Strange and Wonderful Old Woman, who hath a Pair of Horns Growing Upon Her Head"), Simon Forman (the astrologer), Hugh Peters (Independent Minister and republican agitator), the Gunpowder Plotters, Tobias Hobson (the Cambridge Carrier) and many other greater or lesser known unusual characters.


George Mullen was in business at four addresses in Dublin between about 1803 and 1846 as a bookseller, publisher, stationer and bookbinder. Most of his best bindings seem to have been produced between 1812 and 1820 using combinations of gold and blind tooling in a number of different styles with a large selection of hand tools and several blocks, on straight-grained goatskins, russia and calf. At this period Mullen must have run a bindery of some size working for the leading Irish collectors, the Marquess of Sligo being one of his major clients. They could produce bindings of considerable originality and invention, skilfully tooled to the highest standard. Many are signed with labels (as here), but some are signed directly on the fore-edge of the boards, and many more are unsigned. Occasionally in his imprints and on a few of his bindings Mullen spelt his name with an "s" at the end. About 1822 he was joined in the business by his son, George Junior. John and Thomas Mullen, presumably relatives, are also listed as bookbinders in the Dublin directories at this time.


Provenance: Ferdinand M[eath]. McVeagh (1789-1866) of Drewstown House, County Meath, armorial bookplate on the front pastedown. Later bookplate of Marjorie (1906-1983) and Martin (1900-1973) Mitau of San Francisco, probably bought from Gelber-Lilienthal of San Francisco, their bookseller's ticket is on the lower pastedown

Stock Code: 244190

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