Ovid's Metamorphosis. Englished, Mythologiz'd, And Represented in Figures. [with] An Essay to the Translation of Virgil's ├ćneis. By G.S. [George Sandys].

Published: Oxford: Printed at Oxford by John Lichfield

Date: 1632

First illustrated edition thus. 4to. (18), 38, (6 pages erratically numbered, though text continuous), 51-124, 145-487, (1), 491-549, (1) pp. Bound in tan full calf by the Edinburgh bookbinders Henderson and Bissett, spine with raised bands, gilt lettered maroon label, gilt decorated to the other compartments, marbled endpapers featuring the book label of T. Leonard Ellis to the front pastedown and with his ownership inscription to the succeeding flyleaf, the later bookplate of Everett E. Whitney to the rear pastedown with the discreet ticket of the Glasgow booksellers Kerr and Richardson underneath, all edges gilt. Engraved title and 16 plates as usual, extra illustrated with 25 fine additional plates; a manuscript list describing them as by the "First Masters" including Picart, Pierino (Perino del Vaga), Raphael Urbino, Titian, Van Eyck and Guido Reni amongst others, the additional plates generally mounted on a thicker paper stock or card and sometimes cropped with the titles or artists' names affixed to the versos, some of the larger plates folding. The joints expertly repaired, a unique and magnificently embellished copy.

Sandys originally published his translation of the first five books of the Metamorphoses in 1621, before leaving for Virginia; the Virginia Company being managed by his brother Edwin. His first full translation of the work appeared in 1626, of which this is the most celebrated edition featuring his revisions and also, for the first time, illustrations. Thomas Leonard Ellis (c. 1862-1897) was the son of Thomas Ellis, founder of the North British Ironworks of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. The book was almost certainly extra illustrated at the time of the binding, so it is likely that Ellis either commissioned the work himself or purchased it from the Glasgow booksellers Kerr and Richardson who had the work carried out. Alternatively, the ticket could suggest that the book was purchased from Ellis' estate on his early demise. The volume subsequently making it directly or indirectly across the Atlantic into the collection of Everett E. Whitney (1861-1937), a lumber merchant of Hingham, Massachusetts. Some of the supplied plates are more clearly identified or are identifiable than others. The engraving after Raphael, bound in at the tenth book, accords with that held by the British Museum (no. V,6.84), and dated by them as 1630-50. The image has been cropped, but Raphael's name and the other legend is mounted on the verso. The engraving after Perino del Vaga featuring Venus and Vulcan at the Forge, here bound in the thirteenth book, matches that held by the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. They describe it as a 16th century printing, being engraved by Giorgio Ghisi and published by Giovanni Giacomo De Rossi. The engraving after Titian of Vulcan and Ceres, bound in at the fifth book, can also be found in the British Museum catalogue, number 1917,1208.529. Described as an engraving by Pieter van Gunst dating from 1710-14, after a slightly earlier mezzotint from the same series by John Smith. Indeed a number of mezzotints are included in this copy, including "Perseus Delivers Andromeda from ye Sea Monster" engraved by John Simon after Guido Reni (BM catalogue 2010,7081.3441).


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