ACKERMANN, Rudolph, ed.


ACKERMANN, Rudolph, ed. A History of the University of Cambridge, its Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings.

London, printed for R. Ackermann, 1815.


FIRST EDITION, second issue. Royal 4to. 2 vols. I: illustrated front., pp. [i-ii], illustrated front., [iii-iv], engraved portrait, [v-vi], [ix]-xii, [2], [vii]-viii, 296, [6] + 36 leaves of plates; II: pp. [2], illustrated front., [2], 324, [8] + 60 leaves of plates. Plates’ watermark: J. Whatman 1812. Engraved portrait of the dedicatee, the Duke of Gloucester, University Chancellor, to vol.1, a total of 96 hand-coloured aquatints of views of Cambridge colleges and portraits of their founders. Overall a little offsetting from plates, the odd leaf just toned, I: title, illustrated front. and first slightly foxed. An excellent copy, very wide-margined in contemporary straight grained citron morocco (in the style of Dawson & Lewis), triple blind and quadruple gilt ruled, gilt-stamped fleurons to corners and outer border, spine gilt into compartments and gilt-lettered, inner edges gilt, imitating doublure, a.e.g., joints rubbed. C19 armorial bookplates of Christopher Turnor, Stoke Rochford Library, and HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

An excellent, very wide-margined copy, elegantly bound, of the first edition of this lavishly illustrated history of Cambridge University, complete with 96 hand-coloured aquatints of colleges and their founders. ‘The fine aquatints, with their somewhat old-world flavour, are well suited to reproduce the spirit and to recall the antique associations of the old quads and courts’ (Prideaux). Born in Saxony, Rudolph Ackermann emigrated to London in the 1780s, where he started traded in prints and eventually opened a business in the Strand dealing in books, prints, medallions and artists’ materials. ‘He was particularly influential in furthering lithographic illustration in Britain’, and published ‘many important, elegantly illustrated topographical books’ (Archer, p.14). Each section includes a history of the college foundation as well as lists of its most important alumni and benefactors to the early C19, with detailed biographies including interesting bibliographic information, such as the nature and fate of the mss production and personal collection of the C17 antiquary Thomas Baker, fellow of St John’s, or the mention of the ‘specimen of a intended edition of “Aeschylus”’ by Anthony Askew, from Emanuel, published in Leiden in the 1770s, but never eventually completed.

Christopher Turnor (1809-86) was a Tory MP, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Stoke Rochford Hall was rebuilt in Jacobean style by William Burn in 1839. HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-74) was younger brother of Edward VIII and George VI, and a great bibliophile. He was at Trinity in 1919, but not allowed to live in college by his father, for fear of his association with ‘bad company’.

 The 1812 watermark and the later state of pl.73 (cf. Abbey) confirm this as the second issue.

Abbey, Scenery, 80; Prideaux, 125-26 and 332; Tooley 4.