MILTON, John (1608-1674)
The Poetical Works of John Milton. With a Life of the Author by William Hayley
London: W. Bulmer and Co. for John and Josiah Boydell and George Nicol, 1794-1797. 3 volumes, folio. Engraved frontispiece portraits in each volume, 1 engraved plate by Smith after Romney, 28 engraved plates, by Simon, Earlom, Smith, Kirk and others, after Richard Westall. EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with 15 original ink and watercolour drawings by Westall, being the original designs for plates (6 signed with initials), each mounted facing their associated plates. Scattered minor dampstaining at text edges, not affecting watercolours.
Full crimson morocco gilt, by Riviere and Son, marbled endpapers, gilt edges
Provenance: Sotheby's London, 19 July 1938; Hermann Marx (bookplate); his sale, Sotheby's London, 19 April 1948.
An extraordinary large paper copy, extra-illustrated with original watercolors by Richard Westall.
Westall was a Royal Academy member best known for his landscapes (and eventually becoming a drawing tutor for Queen Victoria). His illustrations of Milton that Boydell commissioned are striking in their vibrant Romanticism and would become perhaps the most renowned depictions of the work throughout the next century.
"The edition is one of the major achievements of English typography. William Martin was the brother of Baskerville's typecutter, and Bulmer seems to have made use of many of the technical advances, and much of the expertise, of Baskerville. The edition is regarded as subordinate only to the Boydell Shakespeare, which was being published at the same time" (Coleridge 223).
"Boydell's magnificent edition, with plates after Westall ... By many thought to be the finest production of Mr. Bulmer's press" (Lowndes).
Lowndes, IV, p. 1556.