FOWLER, William (1761-1832)
Engravings of the Mosaic Pavements ... [Bound With:] [Appendix to the above] ... [And With:] [A Second Appendix]
Winterton and London: the author, [1798-]1804 (first series); 1809 (first appendix); 1824 (second appendix). 3 volumes, folio. 25 3/4 x 20" Printed dedication to Sir Joseph Banks in each volume, trimmed and mounted within a black-ruled border. 78 engravings, most hand coloured, trimmed and mounted as issued within an ink ruled border [complete]. Extra-illustrated with 25 separately-issued prospectuses and letterpress descriptions, as detailed below. Additionally extra-illustrated with 7 unpublished engravings, as below.
Expertly bound to style in half purple morocco and blue-green cloth boards, original morocco labels on the upper covers.
An extraordinary collection, comprising the complete work with the very rare second appendix: extra-illustrated with numerous prospectuses and unpublished plates.
"The immense works of William Fowler of Winterton in Lincolnshire -- builder, antiquary, artist, engraver, born 1761 died 1832 -- cannot be widely known, for his three vast volumes of hand-colored etchings, issued as single prints, have been rare for more than a century ...Of the third volume (second 'Appendix') [Henry] Ball wrote in 1888 that it 'seems to be quite unknown, no mention of it having ever appeared in print, to the writer's knowledge. This can only be accounted for in the supposition that the number of copies completed was so extremely small that a perfect set of the three volumes has never yet been offered for sale' ... Fowler did not limit himself to mosaic: early stained glass interested him equally, and wandering through those published collections a fine contrast establishes itself between minutely recorded tesserae in mosaic and areas of splendid colour in the windows ... [Fowler was] the creator of some of the finest English colour prints in that ample period, and a pioneer artist-antiquary across the two unrelated themes of Roman mosaic and stained glass" (Franklin). The present collection is complete as issued, with 78 engravings, though is extra-illustrated 7 of the unpublished plates, as well as an astonishing number of the ephemeral prospectuses. There is some bibliographic confusion over the number of prints issued by Fowler, as some early references have mistakenly listed prints with multiple images as separate engravings, or listed nearly unique, unpublished prints (done for Fowler's own amusement or as gifts for friends) as being part of the published series. A full list of the contents of this extraordinary set is available upon request.
Binnall, Peter B. G. "William Fowler: Artist and Antiquary" in Journal of the British Society of Master Glass-Painters, vol. 2, no. 4 (1928); H.W.B. Notes on Mr. William Fowler, of Winterton (Barton:1869); Lowndes I, 827 (unaware of the second appendix and stating that thirty or forty copies only were printed); Hardie, English Coloured Books, pp.13-14 ("The second appendix is almost unknown and a perfect set of the three volumes seems never to have appeared in the sale room."); Franklin, 'William Fowler of Winterton,' in Book Collector, 2004, 318-412.