Blackstone's First Critical 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 engraved tail-pieces. Collated and complete. Folio (13-1/2" x 10-1/2"). 34.5 x 26.7 cm. Contemporary speckled calf boards, rebacked in period style, gilt fillets and large corner fleurons to boards, raised bands, gilt ornaments and lettering piece to spine, gilt tooling to board edges, marbled endpapers. Light rubbing and a few minor scuffs to boards, somewhat heavier rubbing to board edges with some wear to corners. Light toning, light foxing in a few places, "F.F. 4.1." in early hand to verso of front free endpaper. A very desirable wide-margined copy. $10,000. * First edition and the first modern critical edition of the many versions of Magna Carta that were issued between 1215 and 1297. This exceptional edition of the Magna Carta is "Blackstone's first important work. It contains the Articles of the Barons, the issues of the Great Charter in 1215, 1216 and 1217, with several charters of confirmation, the Charter of the Forest, and the Statute of Marlebridge. The introduction is in English and the texts of the Magna Carta and Carta de Foresta in Latin. The engraved dedication to the Earl of Westmoreland is surmounted with his armorial ensigns; engraved historiated initials in the text depict views of buildings at Oxford University. The tail-pieces on pages lxxvi and 73 are historical vignettes; the other ten engraved tail-pieces are royal seals that 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" and the "elegance of typography is very great." 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.
Book number 69937