SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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MEYRICK, Samuel Rush.
Charles Hamilton Smith.
The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands from the Earliest Periods to the Sixth Century.

This was one of a number of books that had been inspired by William Stukeley's work on Stonehenge, which had brought Druids and ancient Britons to the forefront of the romantic imagination. The pictures of ancient Britons in these publications show a mixture of influences. In part they resemble the images of native Americans that appeared in early travel literature, but the figures are in poses like those of the classical gods that travellers saw in Greek and Roman sculptures while on the Grand Tour. In addition, they are shown wearing the ornaments and weapons that antiquaries were discovering and publishing in the Society of Antiquaries' journal Archaeologia and elsewhere. Bronze swords and rapiers, as well as torcs, socketed axes, and gold lunulae and brooches all appear in these imagined recreations of life in ancient Britain.

London: Columbian press, 1821.
Abbey Life 427; Tooley 326; Lowndes p.1541; Bobins II 687.
London: Columbian press, 1821.

Second edition. Excellent condition. 24 finely hand-coloured aquatint plates plus ornately engraved, hand-coloured frontispiece. Full contemporary straight-grained green morocco, blind-stamped and in gilt to boards; spine in 6 compartments, ornately gilt; All edges gilt; Gilt inner dentelles. Two armorial bookplates: "Robert Farrand" to front pastedown & "Octavius Greene Esq" to front free endpaper. Hinges cracked and worn. Top and tail of spine chipped and worn in places; some uneven soil and marking of boards, extremities rubbed but a very good copy with impressive plates, each of which is accompanied by a lengthy commentary. Booksellers labels sighted. Coloured plates in order: 1. Frontispiece (Composite - featuring Druids oak, cromlech, weapons &c.) 2. A Briton of the Interior. 3. A Belgic Briton and one of the Cassiterides. 4. A Maaeata and Caledonian. 5. A Mounted British Warrior. 6. British Fishing and Husbandry. 7. Costume of the Druidical Order. 8. A British Bard and an Ovate. 9. Bardic Scholars. 10. Irish Ottamh, and an Heraldic Bard. 11. An Arch Druid in his Judicial Habit. 12. Grand Conventional Festival of the Britons. 13. Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni. 14. A Romanised Briton and a Feryllt. 15. Roman British Females. 16. Roman British Priestesses. 17. Irish Brehons. 18. Costume of the Pagan Irish. 19. Hibernian Male & Female Costume. 20. Pabo Post Prydian. 21. St. Jestin ab Geraint. 22. Military Costume of the Gothic Nations, on the Western Coasts of the Baltic. 23. A Drotte and a Fola. 24. Costume of a Saxon Chief. 25. Gurm Gamke, King of Denmark and a Danish Youth.