1808. Inchbald's British Theatre. Complete 25 Vol. Over 120 engravings, Plus Shakespeare's Plays!
Author: Mrs. Inchbald (biographical and critical remarks). Various authors of plays.
Title: The British Theatre; or, A Collection of Plays, Which are Acted at the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket....with Biographical and Critical Remarks by Mrs. Inchbald....in 25 volumes.
Publisher: London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme
Pages: 25 Volumes containing approximately 130 plays. All Complete, and Complete in 25 Volumes
Size: 6" by 3.75"
Condition: Bindings range from Good + to Very Good. Text and plates are Very Good + to Near Fine.
This is a stunning, complete set of plays, featuring Shakespeare's plays over the first 5 volumes of the 25 volume set. The set contains approximately 130 plays, and each play has an angraved frontis...that's nearly 130 engravings, all in excellent condition. It is very rare to find this set complete, and even more rare to find such a remarkably clean antiquarian book. The authors contained in this set are numerous: The first 5 volumes contain Shakespeare's plays, and the other volumes contain plays by Beaumont & Fletcher, Lee, Farquhar, Murphy, Cumberland, Jephson, O'Keeffe, Holcroft, and many more. The engravings are excellent and artists include: Heath after Smirke, Neagle after Howard, Engleheart after Stothard, Fittler after Singleton, and many others.
The internal condition is nearly like new. The only flaws are ex-libris plates and library plates to the front paste-downs. The former owner was Henry Marquand, and the library plates are from St. Paul's School...probably donated by the former to the latter. Other than this, the only flaws are a few light pencil notations here or there throughout the volumes -- mostly in discreet places, small writing, and of course easily erased if you wish to do so. Otherwise, this set is practically like new. Bright, clean text and plates. There is no foxing, staining...just an extremely clean set that appears to have been rarely ever opened.
The external condition ranges from Good+ to Very Good. These are period bindings, half calf over marbled boards. The marbled boards match the endpapers inside. Red and black morrocco labels and gilt devices in six compartments over 5 raised bands. Very nice in appearance. Leather at the extremities is somewhat dry and chipping in places. As shown in photos, some portions of leather on some volumes have large chips, but most of them just have small chipping and rubbing to the heads and tails of spines, and rubbing with loss at the corners. Yellow page ends. Top page ends lightly toned from dust. Most hinges lightly rubbed and some (about ten) are either cracked or starting -- however, it should be noted that the construction is very sound, bindings all very tight and square, NO loose or detached boards. So, all flaws are visual and not structural.
Overall, this is a great set in great condition, especially internally.
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