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The Spectator, 8 Volume Set, 1797


The Spectator, with Sketches of the Lives of the Authors, and Explanatory Notes, in Eight Volumes.

Published by the booksellers, London. 1797. 8 Volumes complete.

The Spectator began publication in 1711 and ended in 1713, and at its height sold 20,000 copies a day, according to its authors, covering all manner of subjects pertinent to 18th Century life in London. It is thought to have actually had a daily circulation of 3,000, with many more actual readers who would have read it in London's subscribing coffeehouses. It was also widely read in the American colonies. Originally issued as a paper, the issues were later collated into sets such as this one and continued to be widely read long after it ceased to be published.

A very good set. Each volume in full leather hardback with black and gilt title label to spine. Covers with mild rubbing and bumping and some splitting to the first few cos of the head of some of the spines, but all soundly bound. Text is nice and clean with only occasional spotting. 1st volume has the calligraphic signature of John Henry to the first free endpaper, and all volumes carry a later bookplate to first pastedown of D. Henry. Volume 2 has a 1.5cm triangular nick out of the first blank following the first free endpaper. Overall an attractive and desirable set. A scarce complete set rarely in 8 complete matching volumes.

Volume 1: xx + 321pp.
Volume 2: 335pp.
Volume 3: iv + p5-320pp.
Volume 4: vii + p8-285pp.
Volume 5: vi + p7-328pp.
Volume 6: v + p6-307pp.
Volume 7: iv + p5-294pp.
Volume 8: vi + p7-292pp.

Dimensions: Each volume approximately 177mm x 109mm x 24mm. Set weighs approximately 2.2kg unpacked.