Edgeworth, Richard Lovell and Honora Edgeworth.
16mo, first edition, volume 2 only (probably all published: see below), copperplate engraving plate after H3 (illustrating chimney-sweep jumping into the river from bridge to rescue a drowning man), laid paper, contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards, gathering F misbound (but all leaves present), joints split and hinges fragile, spine very worn and chipped, other edges of binding worn
The inspiration behind all of Maria Edgeworth's children's books and her work as an educationist: extremely rare, one of only five recorded copies (ESTC records two copies at Cambridge University Library, one in the Bodleian, and further copies at the Beinecke and UCLA). Only volume two is thought to have been published: as Bertha Coolidge Slade records in her "bibliographical tribute" Maria Edgeworth 1767--1849 (Constable, 1937): "No copy of vol. I of this 1780 edition of Practical Education has been located and it is possible that none ever existed...Undoubtedly only a small number of 'Vol.II' were printed, experimentally...Of the four copies located, all belonged to the Edgeworth family" (p.4). The text corresponds to Early Lessons, Harry and Lucy, Part I, subsequently reprinted, under the authorship of Maria Edgeworth, in 1801 (for later editions of this work, see next lot). The work was probably begun by Richard Lovell's second wife (and Maria's step-mother) Honora in 1778, when "in teaching her first child to read, [she] found the want of something to follow Mrs. Barbauld's lessons, and felt the difficulty of explaining the language of the books for children, which were then in use..." (Maria Edgeworth, Memoirs, volume 2, pp.334-336, quoted by Slade). The books seems to have been semi-abandoned by Richard after Honora's early death from consumption in April 1780, but following encouragement and assistance from fellow Lunarman Thomas Day, the little book was published at Lichfield in the winter of 1780. The 1780 Practical Education inspired Maria Edgeworth's The Parent's Assistant (1796), Practical Education (1798, written with her father Richard) and the Early Lessons series (1801): see lots 99 and 104.
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