[13 Volumes of Brindley’s Latin Classics.]

  • (Latin Classics)
  • Londini [London]: Typis J. Brindley 1744


SKU: 5955 Category: Tag:


13 vols, 12mo. Title-pages engraved, ruled in red throughout. Contemporary red morocco by Brindley’s workshop, boards bordered with gilt rules and gilt corner-pieces, spines divided by raised bands gilt, black morocco labels, other compartments tooled centrally in gilt with ‘Golden fleece’ tool, marbled endpapers (a different pattern in each volume). A little toning in places, first gathering of Caesar vol. 2 loose. Bindings rubbed, spines dulled, some spine ends worn or defective, a number of labels lost or chipped, several joints cracked but none detached, some creasing or cracking to a few spines. Armorial bookplate of Cosmo Gordon, Duke of Gordon and more modern Gordon Castle library shelf-labels to pastedowns, early shelfmark numbering in ink to head of title-pages.


An unusual surviving example of a substantial portion of Brindley's Latin classics in Brindley's original trade bindings. This is the first thirteen volumes in the series, which was intended to rival the Elzevirs for small format and fine typography and which ultimately reached 24 volumes. Many of them - and all the ones here - were edited by Usher Gahagan (d.1749), an Irish scholar of some talent but either poor morals or poor choice of friends; he was arrested with a compatriot in 1748/9 for a plan to file coins and hanged a month later. The series may have gone on longer in his absence had Brindley himself not died in 1759; the last publication in it was a 1760 reissue of the Tacitus of 1754 with Brindley's successor's name added to the imprint.
Brindley was bookseller and binder to Frederick, Prince of Wales, entitling him to use the 'Feathers' engraving on the title-pages of these volumes. As a binder Brindley also specialised in royal work and used a distinctive dolphin tool in a number of bindings, but the 'Golden fleece' present on the spines here is another tool regularly used by Brindley, especially for copies of his little Latin classics. These were available ready-bound in his shop on New Bond Street, and special small shelves to hold them remained in the premises into the 20th century. The elegant variation in endpapers on a set otherwise exactly matchingly bound is an attractive touch.
This set represents the complete series as of the end of 1745. A Quintus Curtius followed in 1746 but there was then a pause until after Gahagan's death, with the next volume being the Catullus of 1749. They were probably originally purchased by Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720-1752), who entered the House of Lords in 1748 and may therefore have been too occupied elsewhere to complete the ongoing series.
The full list present is: Horace (1744, ESTC T46227); Virgil (1744, ESTC T139210); Cornelius Nepos (1744, ESTC T83013); Juvenal and Persius (1744, ESTC T123550); Terence (1744, ESTC T137486 - the rarer variant); Julius Caesar (1744, 2 vols., ESTC T136731, this the variant state); Sallust (1744, ESTC T133040); Ovid, (1745, 5 vols., ESTC T99863).

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