Merly Library. A Catalogue of the Well Known and Celebrated Library of the late Ralph Willett…which will be sold by Auction, by Leigh and Sotheby on Monday, December 6, 1813, and 16 following Days…
2 p.l., 119 pp. 8vo, cont. marbled boards, finely rebacked & recornered in calf, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: 1813.
A fine copy of this uncommon catalogue, here printed on fine and thick paper with many outer and lower edges uncut. Willett (1719-95), after inheriting the family’s West Indian estates, devoted his life to scholarship, botany, and the collecting of books and pictures. He formed a very rich library, strong in incunabula, travel, botany, topography, and architecture. His collections of incunabula and Caxtons, as well as four block books, were amongst the finest of the time. Willett published a splendid folio catalogue of his library in 1790 and it is possible that Dibdin had a hand in cataloguing some of the books for this sale catalogue. He certainly offered to look over the proofs of the early printed book descriptions and some of the notes look like his. For an account of Willett and his library, see Alan G. Thomas in The Book Collector (Winter: 1963), pp. 439-48.
2906 lots with some illuminated MSS.
❧ De Ricci, p. 88. Jackson 33.
Item ID: 2592