Blackstone's Edition of Magna Carta in a Handsome Binding Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. The Great Charter and Charter of the Forest, With Other Authentic Instruments: To Which is Prefixed an Introductory Discourse, Containing the History of the Charters. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1759. [iv], lxxvi, [iv], 86 pp. Half-title and table of contents (Tabula) are bound between pp lxxvi and 1. Copperplate tail-pieces. Folio (13-1/2" x 10-1/2"). Recent period-style red calf, gilt fillets with corner fleurons to boards, gilt spine with raised bands and lettering piece, existing marbled endpapers retained. Light toning, occasional light foxing, mostly to upper margins, faint offsetting from tail-pieces, owner signature dated 1773 to front free endpaper small embossed library stamp to title page, a few faint library marks to verso, tiny inkspot to dedication leaf. A handsome copy. $8,500. * First edition. Texts of documents in Latin, Blackstone's essay in English. The engraved dedication to the Earl of Westmoreland is surmounted with his armorial ensigns; initials in the text are ornamented with engravings of various buildings at Oxford University. The tail-pieces on pages lxxvi and 73 are historical vignettes; the other ten tail-pieces are facsimiles of the royal seals are attached to the original documents. This remarkable work is esteemed for its production and scholarship. Its physical appeal was recognized as early as 1829 in Richard Thompson's An Historical Essay on the Magna Charta of King John, which described it as a "beautiful and rare edition." Blackstone's essay, which is based on a great deal of original research, argued that the charter was the foundation of English liberties. This idea, first proposed by Coke, was a central tenet of Whig ideology. More important, Blackstone's research into the original texts demonstrated that all earlier editions of the charter were based on the significantly different reissue of 1225, in the reign of Henry III, rather than the original one endorsed at Runnymede. His philological approach was highly influential; it established the textual focus that has governed subsequent study of the charter. Eller, The William Blackstone Collection in the Yale Law Library 237. Laeuchli, A Bibliographical Catalog of William Blackstone.
Book number 69789