A fine example of Camden’s Britannia in a contemporary binding
By CAMDEN, William, 1600
Britannia, sive florentissimorum regnorum Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae et insularum adiacentium ex intima antiquitate chorographica descriptio.
- Author: CAMDEN, William
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Published by [printed at Eliot’s court press] impensis Georg. Bishop
- Publication date: 1600.
- Physical description: Quarto (202 by 142mm), engraved frontispiece by W. Rogers, two folding engraved maps, several engraved illustrations in text, a few full or double page, a few central leaves lightly age browned, very occasional light marginal foxing, fine contemporary French red morocco binding, triple-fillet border, gilt-stamped armorial supralibros on covers, monogram and title gilt on spine compartments.Collation: pp. , 831, , 30, ,  pls.
- Inventory reference: 17232
William Camden (1551–1623) was an English antiquarian, topographer, and historian. He began work on his ‘Britannia’ in 1577, after receiving a great deal of encouragement from many of the leading cartographers of the day, most notably Abraham Ortelius. The book would take him nine years, with the first edition appearing in 1586. The work, published originally in Latin, is a county-by-county description of the British Isles, detailing the country’s landscape, geography, antiquarianism, and history. It was to prove hugely popular, with six editions being published in the first 20 years. During his lifetime Camden continued to revise and expand the text with each new edition. He drew upon unpublished text by the likes of William Lambarde, and travelled extensively throughout Britain collecting first hand information, even taking the time to learn Welsh and Old English.
2. Jean-Jacques de Bure (1765 1853), his autograph and bibliographical note on front pastedown, dated 10 October 1833. De Bure was part of one of the most influential dynasty of booksellers in France between the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
3. O. Vernon Watney, his bookplate (Christie’s, 7 June 1967, lot 134).
4. Robert S. Pirie, (1934–2015), American lawyer and avid collector of rare books and manuscripts, his bookplate on front endpaper (Sotheby’s, 2 December 2015, lot 137).