The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
London: Strahan and Cadell, 1788-1790. 12 volume set, 8 1/2 inches tall. A fabulous 18th century tree calf with gilt bands, splendid twin labels and superb gilt tooling to the panels. The tree calf boards are framed within a neat gilt roll. Engraved frontispiece portrait, 3 folding engraved maps and the half titles to volumes 7-12, not called for in volumes 1-6. This is the first complete London octavo edition comprising the reprint of volumes 1-6 (first issued 1783, now dated 1788 and the first appearance of volumes 7-12, dated 1790. With the bookplate of J. Cresswell and his stamp at the foot of the title page. A superb set of "this masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style has remained one of the ageless historical works which.....maintain their hold upon the layman and continue to stimulate the scholar". "Gibbon brought a width of vision and a critical mastery of the available sources which have not been equalled to this day; and the result was clothed in an inimitable prose that was elevated, cadenced, and graceful'. (P.M.M.).