Stowe. A description of the house and gardens of the most noble and puissant prince, Richard Grenville Nugent Chandos Temple, Duke of Buckingham & Chandos, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, &.
Buckingham, J.Seeley 1827.
8vo. Engraved folding frontispiece (providing front and rear views of the house), v + (1) + 81 + (1)pp. Contemporary blue paper wrappers, plain paper spine (the spine with some loss of paper surface). Ink ownership inscription of Chris(topher) Cole on upper cover.
This 1827 edition of Seeley’s well-known guide to Stowe was “available in at least two different forms, with only the frontispiece or with all the plates” (see the lengthy note to BAL Cat 2952, detailing the publication history of all editions of this guide book between 1744 and 1838), and the present copy is of the state with a frontispiece only. Remarkably, as we have recently established from the evidence both of a second copy of this state and from a comparison with a copy of the state with “all the plates”, the engraving used as a frontispiece for the present state of the book, showing superimposed views of the house’s south-east and north-west fronts, is an older engraving signed by the engraver G.L.Smith that is not found in the state with “all the plates” (in which all the engraved views are by the engraver Thomas Medland). This is therefore a bibliographically distinct issue of the guide book of 1827, for which the volume’s Buckingham publisher chose to reuse an engraving by G.L.Smith that had already been utilised in eighteenth century editions of the guide book in question, presumably because none of Medland’s engravings showed both the front and the back of the house on the same plate. As such, it is a proper addition to any present-day collection of guides to Stowe. Although the absence of Medland’s plates is a pity, the text provides a good detailed description of the house and grounds as they existed in the late 1820s, and the fact that the guide book was made available for purchase in this form indicates its utility to contemporary visitors to Stowe.