gibbon rect
Lot 227
GIBBON (EDWARD) Book receipt signed, 1776
Sold for £750 (US$ 1,260) inc. premium
Lot Details
Book receipt signed ("by me./ EGibbon"), of T. Cadell for "Dr Hunters Edition of Evelyns Silva for which I have subscribed", one page, laid down, small section of right-hand margin removed, light dust-staining, but still in attractive and sound condition, narrow oblong 8vo (approximately 90 x 50mm.), 30 August 1776


  • GIBBON SUBSCRIBES FOR A COPY OF EVELYN'S SYLVA: the edition subscribed for here was the most significant of those issued since Evelyn's lifetime: 'Although primarily intended to encourage tree planting after the devastation of the civil war, Sylva was a learned work addressed more to gentlemen than to foresters. In it he introduced the word "avenues" into the English language of landscaping. By its fourth edition it contained "an Historical Account of the Sacredness and Use of Standing Groves" that demonstrates its relation to the Elysium project. Sylva's handsome reissue with additional plates by Alexander Hunter in 1776 gave it a renewed popularity' (Douglas D. C. Chambers, ODNB). The book cost two guineas, for which Hunter issued a printed signed receipt to subscribers: the present counterpart was presumably drawn up by Cadell and presented to Gibbon for signature and then retained. This is, according to ABPC, the first document relating to his library to have been offered for sale since 1976. This copy of Sylva, as edited by Hunter and published in 1776, is listed in the famous playing-card index that Gibbon made of his library at Lausanne, as well as the Bentinck Street catalogue and the Schöll sale catalogue of 1832 (see G.L. Keynes, The Library of Edward Gibbon, 1940 and 1980, p. 122).
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