BARTOLOZZI, Francesco (1727-1815) & Peltro William TOMKINS, engravers. - THOMSON, James (1700-1748)
The Seasons, by... Thomson. Illustrated with engravings by ... Bartolozzi... and ... Tomkins ... from original pictures painted for the work by W. Hamilton
London: printed for P.W. Tomkins, 1797. Folio. (18 x 14 7/8 inches). Half-title, 5 section titles, 5pp. subscribers' list. Stipple engraved emblematic frontispiece by Tomkins, 6 stipple engraved plates (2 by Bartolozzi, 4 by Tomkins), 4 vignette stipple engraved illustrations by Tomkins, 10 stipple-engraved head or tailpieces (4 by Bartolozzi, 6 by Tomkins), all after William Hamilton, engraved dedication leaf.
Contemporary blue straight-grained morocco gilt, covers with wide decorative neo-classical border made up from fillets, a drawer-handle roll and a swag and stylized flower head roll, spine in seven compartments with double raised bands, the bands highlighted by rules and roll tools, lettered in the second compartment, the seventh compartment with onlaid label tooled in gilt with two armorial crests (one of the Peters family, the other unidentified), the remaining compartments with repeat decoration of a centrally-placed tool of two birds perched on a bow with crossed arrows behind them, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, edges with alternate bands of gilding and blue staining
A deluxe edition of Thomson's famed poem, with stipple-engravings from two of the greatest engravers of their time, and in a magnificent contemporary binding.
Thomson's paean to the countryside and the simple country life is now seen as a precursor of the romantic movement in English poetry, as exemplified by Wordsworth and Coleridge. The present edition, published the year before the appearance of the Lyrical Ballads, is perhaps the most luxurious edition of The Seasons ever published.
Abbey Life 252; Brunet V, 836; Cohen/de Ricci p.992; Lowndes IV, p.2671.