A Fine Group of Costume Books With More Than Two Hundred Hand-Colored Aquatint Plates
COSTUME. Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the English. London: John Murray , 1814. [With]: Picturesque Representations of The Dress and Manners of the Turks. Illustrated in Sixty Coloured Engravings, with Descriptions. London: John Murray, 1814. [With]: Picturesque Representations of The Dress and Manners of the Austrians. Illustrated in Fifty Coloured Engravings, with Descriptions. London: John Murray, 1814. [With]: Picturesque Representations of The Dress and Manners of the Russians. Illustrated in Sixty-Four [63] Coloured Engravings, with Descriptions. London: John Murray, 1814. [With]: Picturesque Representations of The Dress and Manners of the Chinese. Illustrated in Fifty Coloured Engravings, with Descriptions. London: John Murray, 1814.
First editions of John Murray's reduced format series of Alexander's costume books. Five small quarto volumes (9 1/8 x 6 7/16 inches; 232 x 163 mm). With 273 of 274 fine hand-colored aquatint plates. Lacking plate number 60 of 64 in the "Russians" volume.

Contemporary red straight-grain morocco. Double gilt-rule border on covers. Boards also tooled in blind. Spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt. Gilt board edges and dentelles. Drab green endpapers. All edges gilt. With an armorial bookplates on front pastedown of each volume. Some light sunning to spines of a few volumes. Occasional light rubbing to board edges and spine extremities. "English" volume with some light discoloration to front board. Very minor foxing, otherwise an excellent set. Plates in fine condition.

A fine group of Alexander's costume books, originally published in folios in 1805. These reduced versions were published as a series by John Murray, "who takes his place among the publishers of coloured books of costume" (Martin-Hardie, p. 153). The book on English costumes is the only one of the five that was probably not illustrated by Alexander, though the format is consistent with that of the other four. According to Prideaux and Martin-Hardie this volume was "admirably drawn and hand-coloured in a style so like that of Atkinson that they may well be accepted as his work" (Martin-Hardie, p. 154).

William Alexander (1767-1816) was the first keeper of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, who had gone out as junior draughtsman with Lord Macartney's embassy. "Alexander was an excellent draughtsman, and his illustrations are of considerable value" (Prideaux, p. 250).

Colas 75 and 78. Hiler, p. 16 (lists all five under Alexander). Lipperheide 832; 1351; 1423; 1527-28. Prideaux, p. 325 (lists all five under Alexander).

HBS # 67827 $7,500