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  • The Pleader’s Guide, a didactic Poem, in Two Books, containing the Conduct of a Suit at Law, with the Arguments of Counsellor Bother’um, and Counsellor Bore’um, in an action betwixt John-a-Gull, and John-a-Gudgeon, For Assault and Battery, at a late Contested Election. By the late John Surrebutter, Esq. Special Pleader, and Barrister at Law... by 'SURREBUTTER, John', [pseudonym of John ANSTEY]. 'SURREBUTTER, John', [pseudonym of John ANSTEY]. ~ The Pleader’s Guide, a didactic Poem, in Two Books, containing the Conduct of a Suit at Law, with the Arguments of Counsellor Bother’um, and Counsellor Bore’um, in an action betwixt John-a-Gull, and John-a-Gudgeon, For Assault and Battery, at a late Contested Election. By the late John Surrebutter, Esq. Special Pleader, and Barrister at Law... London: Printed for T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, (sucessors to Mr. Cadell)... 1796.
    First edition. A humorous skit on English lawyers. ‘“The Pleader’s Guide” is the production of Mr. Anstey, a son of the celebrated author of the… (more)

    First edition. A humorous skit on English lawyers. ‘“The Pleader’s Guide” is the production of Mr. Anstey, a son of the celebrated author of the Bath Guide. From the merit of this volume, we might almost be tempted to believe that wit his hereditary. The same wit, the same humour, the same playful satire, that adorn the Bath Guide are to be found here. To render the jargon of the law at all bearable in verse, seems at first impossible, but Mr. Anstey has proved the fallacy of such an opinion. The man who can read the Pleader’s Guide without laughing, must be in possession of the most inflexible muscles, or a more than common share of stupidity’ (Poetical Register). Jackson, p. 211.

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  • The Macaroni. A Satire... by TWIGEM, Ferdinand, pseud. TWIGEM, Ferdinand, pseud. ~ The Macaroni. A Satire... London: Printed for G. Allen... 1773.
    First edition, rare. A satirical attack on the effeminate ‘coxcomical fops’ then to be seen depicted in the windows of all the print shops. In… (more)

    First edition, rare. A satirical attack on the effeminate ‘coxcomical fops’ then to be seen depicted in the windows of all the print shops. In the words of the OED a Macaroni was ‘one of a class of 18th-c exquisites, consisting of young men who had travelled and affected continental tastes and fashions.’ ‘But now, alas! what pigmy monsters team? / What crowds of beaus effeminate are seen?’ Jackson, p. 21. ESTC: BL, Harvard, Huntington, Illinois, Yale (3 copies: Walpole, Beinecke and Sterling).

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  • Extracts from the Album, at Streatham; or, Ministerial Amusements. To which are added, the Bulse, a Pindaric Ode: and Jekyll, an Eclogue. by [RICHARDSON, Joseph, attributed to]. [RICHARDSON, Joseph, attributed to]. ~ Extracts from the Album, at Streatham; or, Ministerial Amusements. To which are added, the Bulse, a Pindaric Ode: and Jekyll, an Eclogue. London: Printed for J. Ridgway... 1788.
    First edition of this collection of Whig satires on the inactivity of the Tory ministry. At least Jekyll and perhaps the whole work is by… (more)

    First edition of this collection of Whig satires on the inactivity of the Tory ministry. At least Jekyll and perhaps the whole work is by Richardson. The ‘Extracts’ purportedly come from an album from Mr. Steele’s house at Streatham, a noted Tory haunt where ‘each sabbath was spent in debate;... dispatches were dispatched without number, and without end, until Ministers had accomplished their own wise purposes... and, to use an appropriate line of the late Dr Johnson; “Had killed the yet unanimated young”’.

    There were three further editions and a Dublin reprint in 1788-9, but the first edition is uncommon. Jackson, p. 139.

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  • The Town-Council. A Poem... the Second Edition. by REGULUS, pseud. REGULUS, pseud. ~ The Town-Council. A Poem... the Second Edition. London: Printed for the Author, and sold by all the Booksellers in Town and Country. 1774.
    A satire on the town council of Edinburgh. This second edition, followed swiftly by a third appeared in the same year as the first. The… (more)

    A satire on the town council of Edinburgh. This second edition, followed swiftly by a third appeared in the same year as the first. The anonymous engraved plate bearing the motto Risum teneatis amici (can you help but laugh, friends?) is a riot of drinking, brawling and vomiting around the civic punch-bowl. Not in Jackson. All issues are very scarce, ESTC lists copies of this edition at BL, Cambridge and NLS only.

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  • THE PLEASING COMPANION, or Guide to Fame, in the Sciences of Logic, or the Art of Reasoning, Metaphysics, or the Principles of Human Knowledge, and the Art of Poetry, or Structure of Verse and Rhyme... by PLEASING. PLEASING. ~ THE PLEASING COMPANION, or Guide to Fame, in the Sciences of Logic, or the Art of Reasoning, Metaphysics, or the Principles of Human Knowledge, and the Art of Poetry, or Structure of Verse and Rhyme... London [i.e. York?]: Printed for A. Millar, W. Law, and R. Cater. 1798.
    A reissue of the rare Logic, Ontology, and the Art of Poetry (London, Carnan & Newbery, 1776; Roscoe J67), with a cancel title-page and conjugate… (more)

    A reissue of the rare Logic, Ontology, and the Art of Poetry (London, Carnan & Newbery, 1776; Roscoe J67), with a cancel title-page and conjugate plate. With a 7-page Newbery catalogue at the end. ‘The imprint is false; probably printed at York for Wilson, Spence and Mawman’ (ESTC).

    An intriguing reissue of the sheets of a collective volume of John Newbery’s Circle of the Sciences (for which he wrote the poetry analysis), first published more than twenty years earlier, in 1776. The works themselves originally appeared separately, in 1748 and 1746 respectively, and in the 1776 collected volume are described as ‘considerably enlarged, and greatly improved’. How the sheets then got from Newbery to ‘A. Millar’ (i.e. Wilson?) et al. is a mystery.

    This issue is very rare. ESTC records only the British Library and Yale copies; WorldCat adds two more, at Wagner College and Wyoming. Alston VII, 274; not in Roscoe.

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  • The Old Serpent’s Reply to the Electrical Eel... by [PERRY, reply to.] [PERRY, reply to.] ~ The Old Serpent’s Reply to the Electrical Eel... London: Printed for M. Smith, and sold by the Booksellers... L,DCC,LXXVII [i.e. 1777].
    Sole edition. In the Monthly Review’s opinion: ‘A fruitless attempt to catch the Eel of Wit by the tail.’ With allusions to Wilkes, Garrick, and… (more)

    Sole edition. In the Monthly Review’s opinion: ‘A fruitless attempt to catch the Eel of Wit by the tail.’ With allusions to Wilkes, Garrick, and Catherine the Great, among others. Jackson, p. 56.

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  • ‘POETICAL SMUT. ROCHESTER REVIVED.’
    The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. A new Edition, with considerable Additions... by [PERRY, James]. [PERRY, James]. ~ The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. A new Edition, with considerable Additions... London: Printed for J. Bew... 1777.
    ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’… (more)

    ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’ A number of imitations and replies were elicited. It is an early work by Perry (formerly ‘Pirie’, 1756–1821), a Scottish journalist recently arrived in London ‘to try to break into the literary world’ (Oxford DNB). By the end of his career he had become ‘one of the most notable journalists of the age when the newspaper press was becoming established as a force in the country’ (ibid.)

    Studies of Gymnotus electricus by members of the Royal Society and their correspondents had captured the imagination of the British public in unexpected ways. While the investigations of Walsh and Hunter made genuine discoveries into the nature of electricity (which culminated in the invention of Volta’s battery), contemporary wits and pamphleteers took advantage of the phallic connotations of the eel and its electrical properties to deride the sexual peregrinations of London society.

    ESTC lists 4 editions of 1777. This ‘new edition’ is enlarged form the first, but probably preceded the stated ‘third’ edition, with a much enlarged pagination. Jackson, p. 52 (first edition, with a different pagination).

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  • THE MINISTER OF STATE, a satire. by MINISTER MINISTER ~ THE MINISTER OF STATE, a satire. London: Printed for Mess. Wilson and Fell..., 1762.
    First edition, an anonymous satire on contemporary political figures, notably William Pitt. ‘This satire, wrote in the manner of Swift, is not destitute of merit.… (more)

    First edition, an anonymous satire on contemporary political figures, notably William Pitt. ‘This satire, wrote in the manner of Swift, is not destitute of merit. The versification is loose, and many of the lines hobble; but some thoughts are manly, just, and sarcastic’ (Critical Review). A second edition followed in the same year.

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  • Dictionnaire historique des siéges et batailles mémorables de l’histoire ancienne et moderne, ou anecdotes militaires de tous les peuples du monde. by [LA CROIX, Jean-François de]. [LA CROIX, Jean-François de]. ~ Dictionnaire historique des siéges et batailles mémorables de l’histoire ancienne et moderne, ou anecdotes militaires de tous les peuples du monde. Paris: Vincent, 1771.
    First edition of this extensive global dictionary of conflict, covering both ancient and modern history. Though the longest entries tend to be for battles involving… (more)

    First edition of this extensive global dictionary of conflict, covering both ancient and modern history. Though the longest entries tend to be for battles involving France, there are good entries for many other conflicts. Notable are: Agincourt, Bannockburn, Barnet, Belle-Isle, Bosworth, Siege of Calais, Calcutta, Crécy, Culloden, Dunes, Dunkirk, Edinburgh, Gènes, Gibraltar, Harlem, Hastings, Inverness, Jerusalem (many), Lerida, Londonderry, Madras, Marlborough, Martinique, Messina (numerous), Minden, Naseby, Orleans, Paris, Poitiers, Pondicherry and Rome (many). The American continent is represented by entries for: Cartagena de Indias (1741), Choueugen [Oswego], (1756), Havana (1762), Louisbourg (1745 and 1758), Quebec (1759), Rio (1711), Tumbes (and the conquest of Peru). The first volume concludes with an alphabetical index of military leaders.

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  • Poems consisting chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages. To which are added two Essays, I. On the Poetry of the Eastern nations. II. On the Arts, commonly called Imitative... by [JONES, Sir William]. [JONES, Sir William]. ~ Poems consisting chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages. To which are added two Essays, I. On the Poetry of the Eastern nations. II. On the Arts, commonly called Imitative... Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1772.
    First edition of the first book of poetry by the great Oriental scholar. ‘The success in 1772 of Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the… (more)

    First edition of the first book of poetry by the great Oriental scholar. ‘The success in 1772 of Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages owed much to the fashionable craze for things oriental; according to Elizabeth Montagu, “The descriptions are so fine, & all the objects so brilliant, that the sense aches at them!” As a poet Jones blended philosophical allegory and dramatic narrative into the genre of the oriental verse tale, but as a scholar he created, through his concern for accuracy of translation and comparative linguistic method, a demand for genuine Eastern products while significantly adjusting racial and political stereotypes... Two essays which Jones included in this volume are highly significant in terms of the history of criticism, as they install the lyric at the centre of poetry. “On the poetry of the Eastern nations” establishes Jones as a major precursor of the Romantics’ (Oxford DNB). Also included is ‘Caissa, or, the Game of Chess, a Poem. Written in the Year 1763.’ The poem, in heroic couplets, tells the story of Caïssa, who initially repels the advances of the god of war, Mars. Spurned, Mars seeks the aid of the god Euphron (Jones’s invention), brother of Venus, who creates the game of chess as a gift for Mars to win Caïssa’s favour. Jackson, p, 15.

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  • Il Latte. An Elegy. by [JERNINGHAM, Edward]. [JERNINGHAM, Edward]. ~ Il Latte. An Elegy. London: Printed for J. Dodsley... 1767.
    First edition. Edward Jerningham’s anonymously published imitation of Gray's Elegy, Il Latte takes a positive view of breastfeeding among mothers and censures the fashion among… (more)

    First edition. Edward Jerningham’s anonymously published imitation of Gray's Elegy, Il Latte takes a positive view of breastfeeding among mothers and censures the fashion among the better-off for putting children out to nurse. ‘The purport of this poem with this affected title, is to exhort mothers to nurse their children at their own breasts; and nothing certainly can be more proper or more natural. If strains like these, ye matrons, can have any influence upon you; let it not be in vain that the poet says, Unsway’d by fashion’s dull, unseemly jest, / Still to your bosom that your infant cling, / There banquet off an ever-welcome guest, / Unblamed inebriate at that healthful spring’ (Monthly Review).

    ‘That sacred shrine! where female virtue glows,
    Where ev’n the Graces all their treasures bring,
    And where the lily, temper'd with the rose,
    Harmonious contrast! breathes an Eden spring:

    That shrine! where Nature with presaging aim,
    What time her friendly aid Lucina brings,
    The snowy nectar pours, delightful stream!
    Where flutt’ring Cupids dip their purple wings’.

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  • A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland; showing how that Event has impoverished the main Body of the People in those Countries; and containing a List of the Abbeys, Priories, Nunneries, Hospitals, and other religious Foundations in England and Wales and Ireland, confiscated, seized on, or alienated, by the Protestant “reformation” Sovereigns and Parliaments... in a series of letters addressed to all sensible and just Englishmen. In two Volumes. by COBBETT, William. COBBETT, William. ~ A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland; showing how that Event has impoverished the main Body of the People in those Countries; and containing a List of the Abbeys, Priories, Nunneries, Hospitals, and other religious Foundations in England and Wales and Ireland, confiscated, seized on, or alienated, by the Protestant “reformation” Sovereigns and Parliaments... in a series of letters addressed to all sensible and just Englishmen. In two Volumes. London: Published by the Author.... 1829.
    With Cobbett’s autograph dedication addressed to Pope Pius VIII: ‘To His Holiness Pope Pius the Eighth. The present head of that holy church under the… (more)

    With Cobbett’s autograph dedication addressed to Pope Pius VIII: ‘To His Holiness Pope Pius the Eighth. The present head of that holy church under the influence of which England enjoyed so many ages of plenty freedom happiness and renown this new edition of the history of the Protestant Reformation is dedicated by and in the handwriting of His Holinesses Most Humble Servant William Cobbett. Kensington [1?]0 May 182.’

    A History of the Protestant Reformation describes at great length the means employed by the state to dispossess the English poor, beginning with the crown’s appropriation of church lands during the Reformation. It first appeared in two parts (1824–7) was a bestseller and was several times reprinted, including in this second edition (preceded by at least one stereotyped reprint). Cobbett had enthusiastically espoused the cause of Catholic emancipation; his autograph dedication to the Pope apparently appears in more than one copy.

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  • [Tales of the Colonies, in French] Le Colon de Van Diémen, ou, Aventures d’un Émigrant. Contes des colonies... Traduit de l’anglais sur la 5e édition. by ROWCROFT, Charles, translated by Noël-Jacques LEFÈBVRE-DURUFLÉ. ROWCROFT, Charles, translated by Noël-Jacques LEFÈBVRE-DURUFLÉ. ~ [Tales of the Colonies, in French] Le Colon de Van Diémen, ou, Aventures d’un Émigrant. Contes des colonies... Traduit de l’anglais sur la 5e édition. Paris: [G. Olivier for] Jules Renouard et C[ompagn]ie, 1847.
    First edition in French of Tales of the Colonies, presentation copy, inscribed by the translator. In this, the first of his two novels, Rowcroft drew… (more)

    First edition in French of Tales of the Colonies, presentation copy, inscribed by the translator. In this, the first of his two novels, Rowcroft drew on his own experience as an Australian settler. The work is in part a guide for prospective settlers and part a sensational tale of the hazards of pioneer-era Van Dieman’s Land: sheep-stealers, bushrangers, Aboriginal attackers, floods, snakes, eagles and wild cattle. Very scarce. OCLC lists 7 copies: Bibliothèque Nationale, University of Basle, National Library of Australia, State Library of New South Wales, State Library of Victoria, University of Melborne and National Library of New Zealand.

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  • Milliardaires Americains. by ROUVEYRE, André. ROUVEYRE, André. ~ Milliardaires Americains. [Paris, c. 1910-20].
    Contemporary caricature portraits of the great American millionaires Carnegie, Pierpont-Morgan, Gordon-Bennett, Harjes, Frick and Depew. The drawing was probably intended for reduction and publication in… (more)

    Contemporary caricature portraits of the great American millionaires Carnegie, Pierpont-Morgan, Gordon-Bennett, Harjes, Frick and Depew. The drawing was probably intended for reduction and publication in an (unidentified) journal. Rouveyre (1879-1962) was immensely prolific as a caricaturist and maintained friendships and correspondence with important figures such as Apollinaire and Matisse (having met the latter as joint students of the symbolist painter Gustave Moreau).

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  • A Political Fair. by WOODWARD, [George Murgatroyd]. WOODWARD, [George Murgatroyd]. ~ A Political Fair. London: Thomas Tegg, October 1st 1807.
    George Woodward, affectionately dubbed ‘Mustard George’ by his contemporaries, was one of the pioneers of English caricature. Like his drinking-partner Thomas Rowlandson, Woodward absorbed high… (more)

    George Woodward, affectionately dubbed ‘Mustard George’ by his contemporaries, was one of the pioneers of English caricature. Like his drinking-partner Thomas Rowlandson, Woodward absorbed high and low culture omnivorously and paid keen attention to contemporary politics.

    A Political Fair is ‘a fantastic survey of the international situation’ in 1807 and is considered one of Woodward’s finest images, the print catalogue of the British Museum devoting two full pages to its complex allegories. At the heart of the fair is a large booth (‘The Best-Booth in the Fair’) representing Great Britain holding aloft on its platform images of Britannia, John Bull, together with an Irishman, Scotsman and Welsh harpist gathered convivially around a punchbowl, while a waiter sweeps into the chamber below with a vast joint of roast beef on his platter. All this was typical of Woodward’s patriotism and was intended to portray the essential unity of the nation amidst the host of clamouring figures in the neighbouring booths representing the other nations. Napoleon, in tricorn and feathers, rebuffs a disgruntled Dutchman complaining about his King with the words ‘I never change Mynheer after the goods are taken out of the Shop’. High up on the right, the American booth displays a placard advertising ‘Much ado about Nothing with the Deserter’, a reference to the friction between Britain and the United States over recent defections from British to American ships and the ban on armed British ships in American ports. The Danish booth on the left advertises ‘The English Fleet and The Devil to Pay’ in reference to the hideous bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet in September that year.

    Musical and theatrical references abound, with many of the placards punning on the titles of plays and musical performances then showing in London: Much ado about Nothing, All’s well that ends well (Shakespeare), The Padlock (Bickerstaffe), The Deserter (Dibdin), The Double Dealer (on the Russian booth, by Congreve) and The English Fleet (Dibdin again). BM Satires, 10763

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  • Hoedemaekers Rekening Boeck. by (HATMAKERS, Antwerp Guild of.) (HATMAKERS, Antwerp Guild of.) ~ Hoedemaekers Rekening Boeck. [Antwerp, 1707-1776].
    An eighteenth-century account book of the guild of hatmakers in the city of Antwerp, covering nearly 70 years. The Antwerp hatmakers were an important craft… (more)

    An eighteenth-century account book of the guild of hatmakers in the city of Antwerp, covering nearly 70 years. The Antwerp hatmakers were an important craft organization with a well-regulated structure. Their accounts were overseen by aldermen, each serving for several years, who recorded income (usually in the the form of entry fines for new members) and expenditure (usually payment for the guilds officials). One of the major expenditures was the payment of the ‘proefmeesters’ who exercised quality control by examining the products of prospective entrants before admitting them to membership.

    The accounts provide a detailed record of the names of entrants to the guild and of guild officials. They also provide much incidental detail of the position of the craft within the regional economy, with frequent expenditures recording contact with the neighbouring towns of Brussels, Mechelen and Bruges.

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  • Idée sur les Romans... publiée avec préface, notes et documents inédits... by SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, marquis de. Octave UZANNE, editor. SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, marquis de. Octave UZANNE, editor. ~ Idée sur les Romans... publiée avec préface, notes et documents inédits... Paris: Édouard Rouveyre, 1878.
    One of 100 copies, this example one of 65 on Whatman paper, of Uzanne’s influential edition of de Sade’s most important and enduring critical essay.… (more)

    One of 100 copies, this example one of 65 on Whatman paper, of Uzanne’s influential edition of de Sade’s most important and enduring critical essay. It had first appeared as a preface to Les crimes de l’amour (1799) and sought to trace the origins and development of the modern or psychological novel from classical literature to the eighteenth-century works of Rousseau, Voltaire, De Graffigny, Marivaux and Crébillon fils and in de Sade’s own Aline et Valcourt. De Sade identifies Richardson and Fielding as the masters of the genre (‘C’est Richardson, c’est Fielding qui nous ont appris que l’étude profonde du coeur de l’homme, véritable dédale de la nature, peut seul inspirer le romancier...’) and he prefers Lewis to Radcliffe among gothic novelists. He also denies his authorship of Justine, attributed to him by contemporaries, writing ‘jamais je n’ai fait de tels ouvrages, et je n’en ferai sûrement jamais.’

    Uzanne adds a bio-bibliographical preface, the latter portion providing a checklist of de Sade’s works and a critical overview of nineteenth-century studies.

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  • Le Tableau de la Vie. Année 1820. by (MINIATURE BOOK). (MINIATURE BOOK). ~ Le Tableau de la Vie. Année 1820. Paris [?Marcilly], 1820.
    An almanac for the year 1820. Engraved throughout with text and images. A delightful miniature almanac, which is preceded by several popular songs (‘Aux Dames’,… (more)

    An almanac for the year 1820. Engraved throughout with text and images. A delightful miniature almanac, which is preceded by several popular songs (‘Aux Dames’, ‘le Portraits’, ‘le Banquet’, ‘la Barque à Caron’ etc.) Though without imprint, this is characteristic of the popular miniature books produced by Marcilly. Not in Worldcat (which locates only an 1821 issue, described as in ‘128mo’). It is probable that it was issued in these two years only. Grand-Carteret 1908 (citing a copy in the collection of Georges Salomons).

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  • Designs of modern costume. &c... on 29 plates... by MOSES, Henry. MOSES, Henry. ~ Designs of modern costume. &c... on 29 plates... [London:] Henry Setchel & Son, [n.d., 1823.]
    A collection of finely-executed plates illustrating the vogue for neo-Classical dress, with figures and groups placed within appropriate drawing-room and dinner-table settings. Moses was a… (more)

    A collection of finely-executed plates illustrating the vogue for neo-Classical dress, with figures and groups placed within appropriate drawing-room and dinner-table settings. Moses was a sought-after engraver who worked for James Barrie, William Opie and Benjamin West, among others. His lightly-draped figures rendered with a sparse line have clear echoes of Flaxman. The collection was also issued under the imprint of at least two other London publishers (M’Lean and Miller).

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  • Le Pornographe, ou Idées d’un honnête-homme sur un projet de réglement pour les prostituées, propre à prévenir les Malheurs qu’occasionne le Publicisme des Femmes: avec des notes historiques et justificatives. by RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme. RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme. ~ Le Pornographe, ou Idées d’un honnête-homme sur un projet de réglement pour les prostituées, propre à prévenir les Malheurs qu’occasionne le Publicisme des Femmes: avec des notes historiques et justificatives. ‘Londres, chez Jean Nourse... A La Haye, chez Gosse junior, & Pinet’ [but Paris: Delalain,] 1769.
    First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint). Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title Idées singulières,… (more)

    First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint). Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title Idées singulières, Le Pornographe is an important early manifesto for the regulation of prostitution. It also holds a significant place in the historical etymology of pornography: meaning literally ‘one who writes about prostitutes’, being the first modern coinage of a word used by the ancient Greeks.

    Restif issued the work anonymously, presenting it with a preface claiming that the idea was not a French invention at all but one found in the manuscript of an Englishman by the name of Lewis Moore. In a series of letters, the work presents an anatomy of prostitution, noting its inevitability in cities such as Paris and its dangers to public health and morality. Most interestingly, it then outlines a system of regulations, with well-managed maisons publiques, in which prostitutes are required to stay, where they are protected and cared for and where customers are strictly controlled. A major preoccupation is the contemporary anxiety over the (wrongly) perceived decline in population, a decline to which prostitution was seen to have contributed. Restif proposes that pregnant prostitutes be required to fulfil their pregnancies and that their children should be brought up and educated within the maisons publiques and to take up alternative professions when of age.

    This early work by Restif encapsulates both his social realism his utopian aspirations, both of which became major aspects of his later novels.

    The imprint is false and the work was published in Paris by Delalain, who sold the author’s works, but who deleted his own name from the imprint after the first impression. The two issues are identical save for the title-page.

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