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TYPOGRAPHIA OR THE PRINTERS' INSTRUCTOR
An account of the ORIGIN OF PRINTING with BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES
Of the Printers of England from CAXTON to the Close Of the Sixteenth Century.
A SERIES OF ANCIENT and MODERN ALPHABETS and DOMESDAY CHARACTERS
Together with AN ELUCIDATION ON EVERY SUBJECT CONNECTED WITH THE ART.
By J. JOHNSON, Printer.
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees. Orme, Brown & Green 1824.
Rare antiquarian first edition set of a classic work by John Johnson (1777-1848), who had been associated with the Lee Priory Press, one of the earliest private presses in England. He became a master printer in London and was most well known for his facility with printer's ornaments. The first volume of the Typographia offers an overview of the history of printing; the second volume is a detailed account of contemporary printing practices and contains much valuable information on the technical development of the draft.
The Roxburghe Club edition. Both volumes remain in excellent condition, both externally and internally. Traces of rubbing and discoloration; leather remains whole and supple. Internally complete and clean, with light foxing to a single inserted page of volume one (see above) and a couple of isolated spots to preliminaries /title pages. The handmade paper remains bright and pliable. Few untrimmed edges. With two wood-engraved titles by J.Thompson, six wood-engraved title plates, numerous wood-engraved text illustrations & vignettes (including portraits of printers, printer's devices, tables, etc.); each page of text within border of typographical ornaments. Former owner's bookplate (Benjamin F. Emery) to the frontal pastedowns, with handwritten date (12-25-19) beneath. Overall, a rare, splendid first edition set of a highly collectible title.
Of the few standard works on the art of printing in the English language, this is perhaps the most familiar. It abounds with information of a very useful character, spiced with conceits manifesting the originality, humour and freshness of the author. The type, never larger than brevier, sometimes is as small as pearl; and the intricacy of the composition evinces the wonderful patience of Johnson. The first volume contains a table of the introduction of the art into the different countries, after which comes the introduction and progress of the art in Great Britain...The second volume may be described as practical, in contradiction to the first, which is historical. It gives a description of types, directions for composing, for press, and warehouse work, &c. It is particularly rich in foreign alphabets, a feature which has gained for it great estimation. it has long since become, and deservedly, a printer's classic.
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