ENGRAVED GEMS: THEIR HISTORY, & PLACE IN ART, by Maxwell Sommerville - 1889 [Signed]


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Engraved Gems: Their History and an Elaborate View of Their Place in Art

by Maxwell Sommerville

Title continues: "in which is embodied The Author's former Treatise with extensive Revisions and Additions; Reminiscences of Travels in the Pursuit and Acquisition of Engraved Gems; also interesting Incidents of their Subjects: to which is added a descriptive List of the Author's Cabinet of Gems forming a Compend of Greek and Roman Classics and Antiquities." This magnificent volume, illustrated by the author himself and featuring numerous facsimiles of his gems, delivers an elaborate history of the tradition of engraving gems, the function of these gems and how they were employed for diverse and countless purposes. In addition to giving a vast and comprehensive analysis of their uses in Roman and Greek Antiquity, the subjects of their designs, their origin, this remarkable book features an account of some of the author's travels in first person narration, with some fascinating details on his adventures in obtaining the most beautiful gems in his collection. His narration delves deep into the mysteries and charm of the lands he discovers, as the splendid illustrations present the gems in all their beauty and delicacy. To top off this amazing work, the volume features a catalogue raisonne of the engraved gems in the author's collection. 783 pages. 9 x 11.25 inches.

Illustrated with 100 original drawings by the author and over 500 facsimile reproductions of the author's gems. Includes reminiscences of the author's travels as well as 104 plates showing the author's collection. Also includes an elaborate description of the collection, gem by gem, of the pieces of the collection.  

Presumed First Edition. Published by: Maxwell Sommerville, Philadelphia, PA, 1889.

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition.

  • Volume is in overall very good condition with some fading to covers and sunning to spine, and mild toning inside.
  • Red covers feature text and design in gilt on front, with bevelled edges, and show gentle edgewear with rubbing, as well as slight bumping of upper corners. Overall very well preserved.
  • Boards display moderate wear with darkening and overall scuffing and fading mostly along lower edges. 
  • Spine features text in gilt, and displays mild to moderate sunning, with softened ends.
  • Binding is slightly shaken, with gutter occasionally exhibiting some gaps. (See photos)
  • Front fep features signature and inscription by the author. (See photos)
  • Interior is well-preserved in regard to covers, with minimal age-toning and well-preserved illustrations.
  • Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks. 
  • Textblock edges show expected toning, with foxing along fore edge, and gilt along head which exhibits some scuffs. (See photos)
  • Book may exhibit additional minor signs of age or wear.
  • SC20180704

AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

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Year Printed: 1889
Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Topic: Reference
Binding: Hardcover
Region: North America
Illustrator: Maxwell Sommerville
Author: Maxwell Sommeville
Subject: Art & Photography
Original/Facsimile: Original
Language: English
Publisher: Maxwell Sommerville
Place of Publication: Philadelphia PA
Special Attributes: 1st Edition
Shipping: Shipping rate calculated at checkout


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