presentation copy to the first editor of "the oxford english dictionary".
This is a presentation copy to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's grandson Herbert Coleridge (1830-1861), with an 11-line inscription to him from the Rev. William Valentine on the front endpaper ("...in memory of the affectionate friendship so long existing between him & his son William April 21st 1857"). The philologist Herbert Coleridge, the son of Samuel Taylor's daughter Sara Coleridge and her husband (and cousin) Henry Nelson Coleridge, earned a double first in Classics and mathematics at Balliol before becoming a barrister. However, he devoted most of his time and energy to linguistics studies, and aged a mere 27--at around the time the present work was inscribed and presented to him--was appointed to undertake the monumental project of a New English Dictionary (later the Oxford English Dictionary). His Glossarial Index to the Printed English Literature of the Thirteenth Century (1859) can be considered the foundation stone of the entire project. A dedicated and highly conscientious editor, he died of tuberculosis at the age of 31.
The 'reliure de présent', designed by Gravelot, is probably by Derome le jeune and was used only for copies of this edition of Tasso. In the present example of the binding, the compartment a the foot of the spines contains a sphere, while the example in the Schiff collection contains a rosette (French Signed Bindings in the Mortimer L. Schiff Collection, I, pl.35), and those illustrated by Ray (appendix A) and in the Otto Schafer collections (sale at Sotheby's London, iv, 7 December 1995, lot 593) both contain the date of publication. For a copy bound in the same way as the present example, see lot 104 in our sale of Continental Books and Manuscripts, 11 June 2002.
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