London: John Murray, 1860. First edition of the author's first book. Five engraved plates, each with numerous samples of engraved gems; additional illustrations in text. Index. Binding lightly soiled and foxed, old ink signature, two old bookseller labels. One gathering sprung, but genrally a very good, clean copy. Original tan cloth, elaborately stamped in gilt and blind. Octavo. lxiv, 498 + 32 pp. publisher's ads. Item #7212
King (1818-1888) was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1842 he went to Italy, where he spent severalyears studying the Italian languge and literature, and procuring ancient gems at moderate prices, especially in Rome and Florence. He later added gems from the London dealer, Eastwood, and from several important cabinets, such as the Mertens-Schaafhausen (Praun), the Hertz, and the Uzielli. The collection, formed between 1845 and 1877, came to consist of 331 engraved stone. In 1878, with failing eyesight, King sold his collection, and it was presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by John Taylor Johnston. The D.N.B. credits him with eight other publications; the present work is scarce.