London: Reeves and Turner, 1873. First Hindley edition. Woodcut illustrations. Front hinges cracked, but cords sound, small tears at top of spines. Edges foxed, minor foxing otherwise. A remarkably very handsome copy of a fragile set. Quarter straight-grain black morocco over burgundy cloth boards, gilt spines, top edges gilt. Two volumes, large octavo. , xxviii, iv, , 492; , iii[1, blank], , 502, 8 (ads) pp. Item #12328
An important collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ballads, commenced by Robert Harley (1661-1724), first Earl of Oxford. Upon Harley’s death, the collection, which consisted of three large folio volumes, was bought by James West, President of the Royal Society. Upon West’s death, it was sold at auction to Thomas Pearson (at a price of 20 pounds!), and upon Pearson’s death in 1788, it was sold at auction by T. and J. Egerton, Booksellers , who produced a substantial catalogue entitled Ancient Songs and Ballads, written on various subjects, and printed between the Years 1560 and 1700…increased by several Additions (1774, two volumes, bound in Russia leather). The present work is based upon that catalogue. John, Duke of Roxburghe, for whom the Roxburghe Club is named, purchased the collection. After several other changes of owners, the collection is now housed in the British Library. Hindley (d. 1893) was editor of The Old Book Collector’s Miscellany and produced a number of invaluable works on British popular literature, including his history of the Catnach Press, his history of the cries of London, and Curiosities of Street Literature.