Auction Date: 23/02/2019 at 10am
The Antiquities of Warwickshire Book - by Sir William Dugdale, London: Printed by Thomas Warren, 1656. First edition, folio, title printed in red and black, engraved portrait frontispiece by W. Hollar. Has 5 double page maps, 11 engraved plates (6 double-page), numerous engravings in text (some full-page) by Hollar, 826 pages plus 12 index and errata leaf at end, all as called for. Bound in eighteenth century panelled calf, gilt rule to sides, frontispiece laid down with small repair in corner, title slightly dust-soiled, neatly rebacked, spine gilt, corners rubbed. Size 9¼” × 13½” and over 2” thick. The Antiquities of Warwickshire took a quarter of a century. It is one of the finest county histories ever written, in which Dugdale described Warwickshire in terms of its history, topography and genealogy, hundred by hundred; (the hundred being an important administrative unit of local government since the tenth century). In addition to the detailed pedigrees and histories of county families, there are illustrations of coats of arms, and monuments and views by the Bohemian artist Wenceslaus Hollar one of the finest engravers of the period, thus considerably raising the quality (and the cost) of the final work. But this studious and energetic scholar was not without a hard nose. Given the expense of supplying illustrations, chiefly heraldic, for his books, William Dugdale invited the descendants of the noble families he featured to contribute to the cost. If they wished to be “mentioned in Dugdale”, they could, at least, stump up something towards the accolade. And if they refused, then the engravings failed to appear. Happily, for the quality of the finished work, most felt duty-bound to contribute.