London: Wiliam Pickering, 1843. First edition in book form. Originally published in monthly parts in 1840. With ninety-four chromolithograph plates, decorated in gilt and “hand-colored in the most sumptuous way” (McLean). Also, with wood block-printed text illustrations in color. The plates illustrate paintings, stained glass, jewelry, furniture, vestments, gold cups, and more. Some edgewear and light offsetting from plates, as usual. A very good set. Contemporary half polished red calf over marbled boards. Stamped and lettered in gilt on spines. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. Small folio. Unpaginated. Item #17548
Henry Shaw (1800 - 1873) was a printer and graphic artist with a particular interest in medieval art and illuminated manuscripts. In Victorian Book Design, McLean describes the present volume as Shaw’s “most ambitious” work, “a magnificent production,” and possibly “the most handsome book produced in the whole of the nineteenth century.” Shaw was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and oversaw the production of Renaissance artifact and manuscript facsimiles for the British Museum Library. Shaw’s other works include The Encyclopedia of Ornament (1836), which McLean calls a “modest forerunner” of Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament (1856); Examples of Ornamental Metalwork (1839); and Alphabets, Numerals and Devices of the Middle Ages (1845).
McLean, Victorian Book Design, pp. 65-71.