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Ralph Willett

Published by Gale ECCO, Print Editions (2010)

ISBN 10: 1170473636 ISBN 13: 9781170473634

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From: Books Express (Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item: Gale ECCO, Print Editions, 2010. Paperback. Condition: Good. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 1170473636

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Merly Library. A Catalogue of the Well: Willett, Ralph)

About this Item: Leigh & Sotheby, London, 1813. Condition: Modern cloth. Fine. [ii], 119, pp. 2906 lots. Priced. 1 vols. 8vo. Library of Ralph Willett (1719-1795), heir to a West India sugar fortune, and notable collector of incunabula, Caxtons, and botanical drawings. Provenance: H.P. Kraus, Reference Library (sold 21 Nov. 2003). De Ricci, p. 88; Jackson 33; for Willet, cf. Alan G. Thomas in The Book Collector (Winter: 1963), pp. 439-48 [ii], 119, pp. 2906 lots. Priced. 1 vols. 8vo. Seller Inventory # 306775

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AUCTION CATALOGUE: WILLETT)

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From: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller Inc. (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item: 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. half-calf & marbled boards (upper joint partly cracked but strong), spine gilt, uncut. London: 1813. A fine copy of this uncommon catalogue, ruled in red with prices and buyers' names in a contemporary hand. 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. Fine uncut copy. Name cut away from foot of title without loss of text. 2906 lots with some illuminated MSS. ? De Ricci, p. 88. Jackson 33. Seller Inventory # 2854

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AUCTION CATALOGUE: WILLETT)

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From: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller Inc. (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item: ?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. Seller Inventory # 2592

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A Description of the Library at Merly: WILLETT, Ralph
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About this Item: Title with large engraved allegorical vignette & 25 engraved plates (seven are double-page, many folding). Parallel texts in English & French. 2 p.l., 14 pp. Large folio, cont. marbled boards (rebacked & recornered, some foxing), orig. red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: Printed for the Author by John Nichols, 1785. First illustrated edition. This privately printed and remarkable work is a splendid record of probably the most magnificent private library building constructed in England in the 18th century. Ralph Willet (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. To properly house these books, Willet constructed a library room for his house at Merly. "Few collectors can have given more thought to the creation of a fitting casket for their treasures?The room was 84 feet long 23 feet wide, and 23 feet high, of which 5 feet, six inches were coving. The bookcases, 13 feet 4 inches high, were of carved mahogany, enriched with a complete Ionic order. The top of each bookcase was flanked with busts, and in the centre was an ornamental scroll inscribed with the subject contained in that case, crowned by the lamp of science with the motto 'Non Extinguatur'? "But it was the plasterwork of cove and ceiling which made this unique among Georgian libraries. Thought up by Willet and executed by a 'Mr. Collins', the theme was nothing less than the origin and progress of civilization? "This masterpiece of Georgian architecture, in which Willet and Collins were assisted by Banks and 'Athenian' Stuart?existed for little more than 40 years, for the library wing was pulled down by Willett's nephew, a few years after the books were sold in 1813."-Alan G. Thomas, "Ralph Willet of Merly" in The Book Collector (1963), pp. 439-448 (see the article for a very detailed description of the library's decorations). An unillustrated edition appeared, limited to 200 copies, in 1776. Very good copy. Contemporary bookplate with interlocking monogram "N.C." (?) below the coronet of an English Marquess. Seller Inventory # 2055

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