Biographia Britannica: Or, The Lives Of The Most Eminent Persons Who Have Flourished In Great Britain and Ireland…
London, W. and A. Strahan for C. Bathurst etc. etc.
2nd Edition, five volumes (all printed).
Folio (37x25cm) 5 volumes: Volume 1 (1778) prelims. (but the Table of Lives for Vol. 1 bound in Volume 2) + 697 pages. Volume 2 (1780) prelims + 708 pages. Volume 3 (1784) 702 pages. Volume 4 (1789) prelims + 664 pages ( with Table etc. bound at the back, instead of with the preliminary leaves). Volume 5 (1793) prelims. + 710 pages.
Ex-libris The Foreign and Commonwealth Library, with their bookplate and their ‘withdrawn’ stamp below it on the front endpapers. A small ink stamp on the title page and a library classification to the rear of the title pages. Volumes 2-5 with the half title pages, volume 1 without the half title page.
Generally quite a clean copy. Some spotting and marking, often particularly noticeable on the half title pages and title pages. The occasional heavier mark in the margins. On a
few groups of pages a tendency for the type to show through the page from the opposite side, but not seriously obscuring the text. The edges of the pages dyed red by the original binder and there is sometimes a tendency for this red dye to run onto the margin of the pages slightly, including the very edge of the title pages.
A few pages in volume 1 with a larger brown mark in the blank margin at the top of the page, including the last leaf.
The stitching of volume 3 rather tighter then the other volumes, although not incontinently so, leaving a crease across the last few pages. Some pages in this volume with light, even browning. The last leaf more foxed.
Volume 4 The browning heavier on the first few, and last few, pages of the volume. Three pages at the beginning of the volume with a heavy crease running down the page, the browning heavier on the first and last pages of the volume. Many pages with light, even browning.
Volume 5 marked at the bottom of the title page.
Bound with leather corners and spines, the boards covered in marbled paper with a blind stamp on the edge of the leather on the front cover. The bindings worn and rubbed with some loss to the leather and paper, but solid and serviceable. The leather cracked on the hinges with some loss, but the spines and covers firmly attached (although the front boards of volumes 1 and 3 perhaps a little wobbly). The hinges strengthened internally with tape (a professional repair). Each spine with three red leather labels, often rubbed and chipped. The leather spine of volumes 3,4 and 5 damaged, with some areas of leather lost ( but again not interfering with the solid structure of the book)