Addison Spectator 1803 set 8 vols antique leather bound books 44 engraved plates


The Spectator

Issued 1803, London by John Sharpe.

With 44 very fine steel engravings throughout, including 7 excellent near miniature portraits.

A rare and profusely illustrated very early 19th century set of charming small books.

Very attractive looking set of antique books, but regrettably with one cover detached (vol. 1). Once sitting on a shelf as seen, the flaw becomes insignificant for the shelf appearance, which remains classic looking, noble, like something you'd see in an English country house bookcase or Ralph Lauren interior.

If you can forgive the flaw of the detached cover and missing spine title label, you will love this set- especially for the engravings within! A splendid assortment of highly finished interior and domestic views is present, including images of men sitting drinking around a table, smoking a pipe, romance, lust & pursuit, exotic Eastern costume & dress, dungeons and prisons, candle light, etc.

Portraits of famous writers include: Grove, Hughes, Addison, Swift, Congreve, Steele & Parnell.

Still beautiful period full brown polished calf leather bindings, spines ornately gilt stamped & lettered, compartment with intricate patterning, contrasting title & volume labels, date gilt stamped on all spine bases. Boards triple outline ruled in gilt, small ornate corner devices, thin inner running interior blind stamp within the gilt box.

Engraved frontis & half title for all volumes, total of 44 extremely well done steel engravings. All engravings are signed in the plate by the engraver, each a nice impression, rich in tonality, capturing the subtle effect of the medium at it's best.

Set shows clear signs of usage and age, but as the pictures show, still nice looking. Leather is scuffed, a bit dried over all, but all volumes remain mostly clean, very tight, sound and rare. Lacks one of the original

One of the primary virtues of this set is that it's unique. A one of a kind set of antique bindings, this is the only set which survives today which looks like this, exhibiting this particular patina of time. The set casts off a visual aura utterly unlike books made today and no other set which survives today looks like this one. If you put this set in a bookcase in an old house, it will look like it's been sitting there for a long time.

Measures c. 6 1/2" H x 4 1/4" W x 9 1/4" Length along the shelf

Set is priced less than $35/ volume. This is a tiny fraction of what it would cost a bookbinder to make these same books today, forget the 44 excellent engraved plates. In fact, it would probably cost $35 just to reback each of them. Think about it...


A picture is worth a thousand words. Please examine pictures closely, as what you see pictured is what we will send you.

[note: we grade conservatively and always seek to disclose any noteworthy flaws. We are trying to represent this item as it survives and as we recently acquired it. We're not attempting to incorrectly make it seem better than it is, misrepresent or hide any aspect, etc. We want you to accurately understand what you are buying in advance so there are no surprises when it arrives and you want to return it. This simple basic underlies all of our descriptions. We have a easy open friendly 30 day return policy and a guarantee of authenticity for as long as you own it.]

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