Fore-edge painting, Edinburgh Scotland. 1847 The Seasons by James Thomson. Woodcut illustrations. With Life of the Author.


A view of Edinburgh, from Calton Hill, hides behind the richly gilded fore-edge of this attractive and popular mid-19th century poetry work considering the four seasons, with illustrative woodcuts throughout.

About The Seasons -

The poem was published one season at a time, Winter in 1726, Summer in 1727, Spring in 1728 and Autumn only in the complete edition of 1730. Thomson borrowed Milton's Latin-influenced vocabulary and inverted word order, with phrases like "in convolution swift". He extended Milton's narrative use of blank verse to use it for description and to give a meditative feeling. The lengthy blank verse poem, reflecting on the landscape of the countryside, was highly influential and much liked for at least a century after its writing. Especially lavish editions were produced between 1830 and 1870 in Britain and America.

The Fore-Edge Painting -

With the pages thumbed out, a scene of Edinburgh becomes visible under the gilt. The view is from Calton Hill, with Dugald Steward Monument to the right, the Scott monument in the center, and the Martyr's Monument obelisk at the left. The Balmoral Hotel is not in the scene, indicating that the landscape was painted before 1902.

Physical Attributes -

Measures 21 x 16 x 2.5 cm. Leather, with a repaired spine. Gilt tooling framing the front board. Five raised cords on spine; five compartments with dentelle style gilt decoration, one compartment with "Thompson's Seasons Illustrated" in gilt. All edges gilt (AEG). Fore-edge painting. 320 numbered pages.

Condition -

See pictures. Re-spined, using original boards and spine. Edge/corner wear. A little board rubbing. Notes on paste-downs and endpapers. Librarian tape at both inner hinges (inside the boards at the gutter). Crack (small gap) between flyleaf and 1/2 title page. Flyleaf has edge chipping. Foxing spots (occasional; worst at first and last several pages). Soiling marks on page 40-41.

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