London: [By William Jaggard] for John Jaggard, 1606.
First Jaggard edition (?piracy). Woodcut headpiece and printer's ornaments on title and "Of the Colours" section title, woodcut initials.  pp. Collation: A-G^8 (A1, G8 blank, —G8). Small 8vo. The Corser-Huth-Hartz-Pirie Copy. Nineteenth century straight-grained purple morocco, covers with French fillet border, smooth spine decorated and titled in gilt, gilt turn-ins, a.e.g. A fine, well-preserved copy in custom brown morocco pull-off case by J. Kulesho. ESTC S104434; Gibson 4 (as fourth ed.); not in Pforzheimer, but cf. 29. Provenance: Rev. Thomas Corser (Sotheby's, 17 March 1869, Part II, lot 61); Henry Huth (acquired at foregoing sale through Frederick S. Ellis, red morocco booklabel, his sale, Sotheby's, 17 November 1911, Part I, lot 386); Henry Sotheran; R. Hartz; John Fleming; Robert S Pirie (acquired 1978, his bookplate). Item #304165
The first Jaggard edition and the fourth overall edition of the Essayes of statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Jaggard made no entry of this or his 1612 and 1613 editions of the Essayes in the Stationers' Register, and so it has been customary to regard his editions as piracies. Jackson gently disputes this notion in the note to Pforzheimer 29, suggesting that a later transfer of rights to Jaggard's widow in 1624, as well as the silence of Hopper and Beale (who did register their rights with the Stationers' Company), argues for Jaggard having some right to the Essayes. "In some manner, therefore, Jaggard must have himself secured 'rights' which the Stationers' Company regarded as transferable even though not previously entered in the Register" (Pforzheimer). In any case, a rare edition: we trace only this copy at auction.
The Essayes, which went into numerous editions in the author's lifetime and eventually expanded from the 10 essays printed here to 58 in the 1625 edition, treat moral and political topics in "a terse, aphoristic style … which Bacon conceived as a genre setting down discrete observations on life, and aspiring to some kind of objective validity" (ODNB). "In an age of complicated and superficial verbiage, [Bacon] turns the licence of imaginative and allusive expression into an instrument of accurate and chastened thought" (Cambridge History of English and American Literature). The Essayes were originally circulated in manuscript among Bacon's friends — the threat of a pirated edition by Richard Seeger lead to Bacon entrusting the work to Humfrey Hooper for publication in 1597.
A fine copy with exceptional provenance.
Price: $17,500.00 Free International Delivery