London: J. White at Horace's Head, 1803. Second edition. Hardcover. This is the second and best edition of 'The Origin and Progress of Writing', with additions, and with the astonishing full page folding copper engravings, including 8 in color. The full color plate, XIV A, is from the 'Textus Sancti Cuthberti', a 7th century work, and has large highly ornamented capitals, engraved by J. Swaine. John Swaine (1775 – 1860) was an English engraver noted for his facsimile engravings of old prints, such as the famous Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare. The other engravings include antique alphabets; Greek alphabets from a variety of manuscripts; example of capitals and lower case, codice regularum S. Benedicti at the Bodleian; examples of capitals and lower case letters from four gospels circa AD 686, and more.
The chief work of Thomas Astle (1735 - 1803) British antiquary and paleographer, and Keeper of the Records at the Tower of London. Astle's remarkable private collection of illuminated manuscripts later became the foundation of the Stowe manuscripts at the British Library. The Stowe collection consists of approximately 2,000 Anglo Saxon, Irish and medieval manuscripts.
Large 4to, xxiv, 240pp and includes 'Appendix on the Radical Letters of the Pelasgians'.
Three quarter tan calf and marbled boards, attractively re-backed and in a custom made brown cloth box. With frontispiece portrait of Astle, 31 full page copper engraved plates, some of which are folding; one fully colored and 7 partially colored. Owner’s neat inscription at title page, otherwise very good condition. OCLC: 2846001. Item #19860