The Robin Hood Collection — Bewick Illustrations — Signed Binding
Ritson, Joseph, ed. Robin Hood: A collection of all the ancient poems, songs, and ballads, now extant relative to that celebrated English outlaw. London: William Pickering; York: J. & G. Todd, 1832. 8vo (18.8 cm, 7.4"). 2 vols. I: , vii/viii, , [v]–cxxxv, , 148 pp.; illus. II: , v/vi, 261,  pp.; illus. (half-titles lacking).
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The earliest scholarly effort towards compiling and analyzing the surviving historical Robin Hood ballads, along with a carefully constructed argument regarding the identity of the “real” man behind the myth. This second, enlarged edition was the first published by Pickering, with the printing done by Charles Whittingham, and it showcasesBewick's original wood-engravings from the 1795 first edition.
The advertisement here notes that Ritson, following the original publication, “continued . . . to make additions to his own copy, from which the present edition has been carefully printed” — and also claims that “from the improved art of wood-cut-printing,” the Bewick illustrations are actually clearer and more beautiful here than they were in the first edition. Tunes for “Robin Hood and the Tanner,” “Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford,” “A Freeman's Song,” a round that begins “Robin Hood, Robin Hood,” and “Robin Hoods Delight” are supplied, along with a glossary of archaic vocabulary.
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Binding: Signed binding done byFrancis Bedford, stamped as such in turn-ins on front pastedowns and on front free endpapers: 19th-century calf framed in triple gilt fillets with small corner rondels, spines gilt extra with gilt-stamped red leather title-labels and green leather volume labels, board edges with double gilt fillets, turn-ins with gilt roll. All edges gilt.
Provenance: From the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (“AHA”) at rear of each volume.
Keynes, William Pickering (rev. ed.), 87; Kelly, Checklist of Books Published by William Pickering, 1832.6; Hugo, The Bewick Collector, 86 (for first ed.). Bindings as above, rebacked preserving original spines; edges and extremities rubbed, spines showing moderate wear, half-titles (only) lacking. Front fly-leaves and title-page of vol. II with light spotting in lower halves; a few instances of faint spotting elsewhere in each volume, pages otherwise clean and white. A handsome copy of this important step in the establishment of Robin Hood's legendary status. (37995)
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