Rare First Edition, First Issue of Designs by Mr. R. Bentley for Six Poems by Mr. T. Gray; in the original boards
Designs by Mr. R. Bentley for Six Poems by Mr. T. Gray.
Item Number: 84523
London: R. Dodsley, 1753.
First edition, first issue, The Abel Berland Copy. Quarto, bound in the original gray boards, illustrated with each of the six poems with a frontispiece, head-piece, initial letter and tail-piece. Each leaf printed on one side only. Half-title reading “Drawings, &c.” Engraved title vignette, 6 engraved plates, 12 head- and tail-pieces, and 6 historiated initials. In near fine condition, rebacked. Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise box. Rare, especially in the original boards.
Gray's Elegy is the final poem in the work, and "A Long Story" is here printed for the first time. At Gray's insistence, the word "Designs" precedes "Poems" in the title, and the title "Mr" was used before each name. The plates by Richard Bentley (1708-1782), are described as "an extraordinary and skilful combination of classical river gods, rococo lightness, and Strawberry Hill Gothic" (Hammelmann and Boase Book Illustrators in 18th Century England, 1975, p.14). Ray English p.4; Rothschild 1061.