Anecdotes of painting in England; with some account of the principal artists; and incidental notes on other arts; collected by the late Mr George Vertue; and now digested and published from his original MSS.
Strawberry Hill, printed by Thomas Farmer 1762-3.
4to. 4 vols. Engraved frontispiece, xiii+(1)+168+(22)pp, 15 engraved plates ; (2)+158+(58)pp, 25 engraved plates ; (2)+155+(13)pp, 37 engraved plates ; (4)+128+14+20+(10)pp, 9 engraved plates. Contemporary full red morocco, gilt floral design on spines, all edges gilt (an English binding of the 1760s or early 1770s). Two spine labels missing, bindings slightly worn at joints of spine and at corners, and some occasional internal offsetting or browning.
First editions in a contemporary red morocco binding of the three volumes of Anecdotes and of the companion Catalogue of Engravers printed for Horace Walpole at his private press at Strawberry Hill in 1762-3 (a further volume of Anecdotes was printed in 1771, but not distributed until 1780). In these volumes Horace Walpole reproduced from the surviving notebooks of the engraver and antiquary George Vertue as much as possible of the information that Vertue had collected about English painters, sculptors, engravings and architects of the past. Although most of the actual text of Vertue’s notebooks has now long been available in an edition published by the Walpole Society, the set of Anecdotes volumes still remains necessary reading, for Walpole’s interpretations of Vertue’s sometimes cryptic notebook entries were to exercise a profound influence on subsequent British art history.