Astronomicon. Ex Recensione et cum Notis Richardi Bentleii. Marcus MANILIUS.
Astronomicon. Ex Recensione et cum Notis Richardi Bentleii.

Large Paper Copy of Bentley’s Great Edition of Manilius;
The Lamoignon Copy in Red Morocco

Astronomicon. Ex Recensione et cum Notis Richardi Bentleii.

Finely engraved port. of Bentley by Vertue, a large folding engraved plate depicting the Farnese globe, & a fine engraved headpiece. xvi, 307, [5] pp. Large 4to, cont. French red morocco, double gilt fillet round sides, flat spine gilt, with the characteristic Lamoignon green morocco labels on spine, a.e.g. London: Typis H. Woodfall, sumptibus P. & I. Vaillant, 1739.

First edition of Bentley’s commentary, with the text, of Manilius’ Astronomicon, the earliest extant treatise on astronomy of antiquity. Bentley’s commentary, his last work, is recognized as the greatest on this text and is one of the most celebrated classical editions of the 18th century. A.E. Housman, a great admirer of Bentley’s genius, thought this edition “a greater work than either the Horace or the Phalaris.”

Provenance: From the library of Chrétien François de Lamoignon (1735-89), with his “Bibliotheca Lamoniana” booklabel on the front paste-down endpaper, crowned “L” stamped on p. 3, and characteristic date and morocco labels on spine. The Lamoignon library was due to be sold at auction in the Hague in 1791, but was bought en bloc by Thomas Payne before the sale. This book was later owned by the Hon. George Agar Ellis (1797-1833); his booklabel is on the front pastedown. Ellis was one of the MPs who pressed for the grant which bought the Angerstein collection of pictures for the nation (thus founding the National Gallery), and was himself a very considerable collector of books and pictures. He was created Baron Dover just two years before his early death at the age of only 36.

A very fine and attractive copy. The head and tail of the spine has been almost invisibly repaired by James Brockman. Many examples lack either the portrait or the plate (or both) which are present in this copy.

❧ Bartholomew & Clark, Bentley, 183. Lowndes, p. 1464. Brunet, III, 1369. None of these bibliographies distinguish large paper copies and, indeed, the superior copies are not so large as instantly to mark themselves out, or astonish the beholder with their margins. However, the measurements given by ESTC are conclusive: ordinary paper copies are 27 cm. high, with a gutter of 2.3 cm., and large paper copies are 29 cm. high, with a gutter of 4.5 cm. In this copy, finely bound for the Lamoignon family, and thus (naturally) trimmed down a little, the leaves are still 28.8 cm. tall, and the gutter clearly measures over 4 cm.

Price: $3,000.00

Item ID: 6271

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