London: Walker and Edwards, 1816. Hardcover. Fine. Item #20067 .
Two volumes. Engraved frontispieces and dual title pages, one engraved in each volume and one typeset. The engraved titles and frontispieces have offset to each other and are lightly stained else the text blocks are clean.
Recent artist binding by Þ (signed on inner rear covers) in full maroon morocco. Spine titles gilt. Marbled endpapers. On Volume one in a recess is a representation of the Sword in the stone done in puckered colored leathers and carved wood. On the upper board of Volume II is a representation of the Sword being returned to the lake, caught by its Lady. The bindings are in fine condition, and are protected by the binder's maroon cloth dustwrapper, gilt titles on spines.
With the signature of James Ranken Fergusson, 2nd Baronet of Spitalhaugh and also a prolific author. His armorial bookplates were retrieved from the original bindings and inserted into these.
The first edition of Malory's Morte d'Arthur was printed by Caxton in 1485. The Caxton edition was followed by editions in 1498, 1529, 1557 and 1634. No further editions were printed until two competing editions were issued in 1816, of which this is reputedly the first. No editions earlier than the 1634 are obtainable, and a copy of the 1634 edition only rarely comes on the market. This 1816 edition is the first practically obtainable edition of the Morte d'Arthur.