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Nicolas, Nicholas Harris, ed. The siege of Carlaverock in the XXVIII Edward I. A.D. MCCC; with the arms of the earls, barons, and knights, who were present on the occasion; with a translation, a history of the castle, and memoirs of the personages commemorated by the poet. London: J.B. Nichols & Son, 1828. Folio (28.7 cm, 11.25"). Col. frontis., , xxxii, 380 pp. (pagination skips 309–12, text uninterrupted); illus. $850.00
First edition: Extraordinarily handsome rendition of a 14th-century Anglo-Norman French poem recounting the attack on a Scottish castle (usually given as "Caerlaverock") by King Edward I in 1300. The editor notes that the poem merits attention from historians, antiquaries, bibliographers, and lovers of heraldry alike — as well as from "more general readers" who will be charmed by "the raciness of the author's descriptions, his quaint notices of the characters of the different personages, and the occasional beauty of his passages" (p. iv). While Nicolas was certain that author was Walter of Exeter, a Franciscan friar, later scholars do not unanimously share that hypothesis.
Printed here in its original language and spelling in a clear, attractive black letter accompanied by an English prose translation in italic on facing pages, the work is ornamented with => hand-colored, illuminated renditions of the coats of arms alongside the text descriptions, as well as => a full-page, hand-colored frontispiece depicting the castle. Following the poem are biographies of the noblemen present during the siege, with excerpts from other accounts of their lives and deeds.
Binding: Contemporary mottled calf, covers each with gilt-stamped coat of arms, covers framed in blind roll and gilt triple fillets, spine with gilt-stamped red leather title-label, gilt-ruled raised bands, and compartments with unusual dotted gilt interwoven swirl pattern surrounded by laurel wreaths, edges and turn-ins with gilt roll. All edges gilt.
Provenance: Binding with gilt supra-libros of Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1785–1851), with Order of the Garter insignia and ducal coronet. Pelham-Clinton was notoriously reactionary both politically and religiously — the DNB acknowledges that he died "having gained the reputation of representing all that was worst about the English aristocracy" (!), adding a touch of irony to his possession of this celebration of nobility, chivalry, and prowess. In addition, front fly-leaf with large, carefully calligraphed inscription of noted collector W[illiam] Charles Fewtrell, Liverpool, done in black and red. Most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Brunet, IV, 62. On Pelham-Clinton, see: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online. Binding as above, rebacked with original spine laid down; corners, joints, and spine extremities showing moderate rubbing. Inscription as above. Two pages with light offsetting from end of attached silk bookmark. Pagination skips from 308 to 313 without interruption in text. A very few spots of foxing, pages otherwise clean. => A desirable copy, with intriguing provenance. (38860) Please RESHELVE This.
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