HORACE Quinti Horatii Flacci Opera (2 vols.)

London, Iohannes Pine, 1733 (1737)


8vo. In two volumes. Pp. (xxx) 264, (i), (xxii) 191, (xiii). Engraved text and illustrations throughout done in copperplate printing. In Edwardian full, dark green straight-grained morocco, all edges gilt.

Claimed by Dibdin (Introduction to the Greek & Latin Classics, 4th edition volume II p. 108) and later bibliographers to be a “Second issue” on account of the misprint “post est” (in volume II, p. 108) having been corrected to “potest”. However, the most striking difference between copies of this issue and the copies of the claimed first issue is the paper quality, which is much superior in this issue than in the other.

The printing of this extraordinary set of volumes has raised the curiosity of many writers. From Pine’s own Latin introduction, we know that the text was first composed in lead, then page by page printed on non-absorbent paper from which the transfer to copperplates was made. The impressions of the letterforms, then, were traced with acid or gravers and the plates were etched/ engraved together with the vignettes and other decorations that fill each page.

We may assume that Pine wished to keep the printing forms for possible later editions, and also wanted to have complete control over his work at a time when copyright was much debated and was still only being considered for protection by law. A copyright law was passed a few years later (1734-5. 8th George II). A clean and very nice copy.

Printing and the Mind of Man No. 105. Lowndes 1113. Brunet III 320.
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