The True First Edition of Tom Jones in A Contemporary Binding
FIELDING, Henry. History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. London: Printed for A. Millar , 1749.
First edition, with list of errata on c8 recto in Volume I and with all errata mentioned still uncorrected throughout. Six twelvemo volumes (6 3/8 x 3 7/8 inches; 162 x 99 mm). lxii, [1, errata], [1, blank], 214, [2, blank]; [2], 324; [2], 370, [2, blank]; [2], 312; [2], 294; [2], 304 pp. Collates complete per Rothschild, with all of the usual cancels (volume I; B9 & 10: volume II; B4 & 5, and N12: volume III; H8, H9, H10, M3, and Q11: volume V; N8) and final blanks as called for (K12 in volume I and R12 in volume III). The catchword for Vol. I, page 21 is "lected."

Full contemporary calf. All volumes with headcap repairs. Volumes 1,4, 5, & 6 rebacked preserving original spines and labels. Boards double ruled in gilt. Spines stamped and ruled in gilt. With red morocco spine labels and black morocco volume number lozenges, all lettered in gilt. Some minor foxing here and there, otherwise very clean. Previous owner's old ink signature on front endpapers of all volumes. A small bookplate to front pastedown of volumes II and III. Evidence of small removed bookplate on front pastedown of all volumes. Volume II with some fading to front board and a small corner stain to leaf N12. Volume III, leaf O11 with upper corner with small repair, only affecting the page number. Overall all a very clean, nice set.

"One of the three most perfect plots ever penned." (Coleridge). The entire first edition of 2,000 copies was immediately bought up by the London trade, necessitation a second edition very quickly. Both Cross and Jensen support the view that the second edition was in hand at about the same time that the sixth volume of the first edition went to press.

Cross III, pp. 316-317. Grolier, 100 English, 48. Rothschild 850-851. Sterling 360.

HBS # 68417 $7,500