Mighty volume of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
THE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER. Compared with the former editions and many valuable MSS, out of which, Three Tales are added which were never before printed; By John Urry, student of Christ-Church, Oxon. deceased: together with a Glossary by a student of the same College. To the whole is prefixed the Author's life, newly written, and a preface, giving an account of this edition.
CHAUCER. GEOFFREY. ; Urry. John. Edits.
Published by Bernard Lintot. London. 1721.
FIRST URRY EDITION. Folio. Large paper copy. (17.9 x 11.7 inches - 45.4cms x 29.8cms). lii, 626, 81, (i -Errata), pp. Frontis portrait of Urry, engraved by N. Pigné. Vignette of Chaucer's tomb on title page. Full page engraved portrait of Chaucer following title page, engraved by George Vertue. The Canterbury Tales are illustrated with 26 engraved images of the Pilgrims. Decorative initial letters and head & tail pieces throughout.
Previous owners armorial bookplate (William Markham, Becca Lodge, Yorkshire, the son of the Archbishop of York and Private Secretary to Warren Hastings) on the front pastedown endpaper. A handful of leaves with browning to the margins but overall this is a very good, tall, wide margined copy. Contemporary brown calf boards with decorative blind tooled frames. Gilt and blind tooled border to the edges. Professionally rebacked with the original spine laid down. Compartments ruled and decorated with floral centre pieces, all in gilt. Burgundy title label, gilt. Corners and edges bumped and rubbed but still an attractive copy of this impressive volume.
Printed by William Bowyer; his records show three sizes printed: 1000 copies demy; 240 royal; 10 writing royal. Although the pages in this copy measure to the official size of a Demy leaf, the edges have been trimmed before binding so the original pages would have been larger, suggesting this to be one of the 240 Royal paper copies. The book is certainly much larger than any copy I have seen before and matches the size of the copies, both listed as being Royal copies, in the Victoria & Albert Museum Library and Cardiff University Library. According to the DNB, this is the first edition of Chaucer to offer descriptions of the manuscripts of Chaucer's works and the first to print texts of "Gamelyn" and "The tale of Beryn", works ascribed to, but not by, Chaucer. Published posthumosly (Urry died in 1715), the final revision fell to Timothy Thomas, who also wrote the preface and glossary. The life of Chaucer was originally written by John Dart, but was revised and altered by William Thomas before publication.