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King Richard the Third by Horace Walpole, 1768, Signed Harcourt Binding



King Richard the Third by Horace Walpole (4th Earl of Oxford)

First Edition Published by J. Dodsley, London in 1768

Signed Custom Full Leather Binding by the Harcourt Bindery

FINE Condition

Full Title:  Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third

Binding Details:  Custom leather binding by the Harcourt Bindery, Charlestown, Massachusetts bound in mottled calf and morocco leather. The spine is mottled calf with raised bands, gold ruling, and gold gilted titling in maroon leather tile. The boards are morocco leather with double lined blind ruling. There are hand-sewn silk headbands and plain endpapers. The Harcourt Bindery label appears on the bottom of the last free endpaper.

Book Details:  Published by J.Dodsley, London in 1768, this is a first edition of Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third that includes the errata and directions to the binder bound in at the end of the book. Although I have seen claims that there was a limited edition of the book published in the same year by his private press, Strawberry Hill, The Encyclopedia of Gothic, page 724, states that “Walpole preferred trusting his more important works, such as Otranto and Historic Doubs on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third (1768) to more established London publishers. From the American Free Press, “In 1787, amateur historian and well-known British writer Horace Walpole, a former Member of Parliament, penned a book questioning the black portrayal of King Richard III. The outrageous accusations against the maligned king—who became the subject of a fanciful Shakespearean propaganda play—were dealt with one by one, like a barrister defending his client. Myths of Richard’s grotesque physical appearance to accusations he murdered his nephews, his wife, his brother and several members of the English court are refuted with common sense and a little real investigative work. What we are left with in Walpole’s biography is a picture of man quite at odds with the one history has insisted on presenting us with for hundreds of years.”

The book measures 9.75” x 7.25” with 134 pages as well as the errata and bookbinders instructions to place the illustration of the King, to front the title-page, and the plate of the King and Queen at page 103. Both illustration are present.

Condition Report:  The binding is in FINE condition with a very superficial rub to the left side of the top spine hub. Internally, the book is clean and free of foxing with the exception of some soiling to pages 130 & 131 and some age toning to the page ends. There are no bookplates or signs of previous ownership. 

A photograph of the binding appears in the photo section of the listing.