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Original price £950.00 - Original price £950.00
Original price
£950.00 - £950.00
Current price £950.00

Theocritus: [Greek letters] Theokritou ta euriskomena. Theocriti quae exstant, cum Graecis scholiis. Oxoniae [Oxford], e Theatro Sheldoniano, impensis Sam. Smith, & Benj. Walford [London] ad Insignia Principis in Coemeterio D. Pauli. An. Dom. 1699.

Copy of the radical politician, friend of American liberty, journalist and scholar John Wilkes (1725-1797) of the second Oxford edition of the Idylls of Theocritus (first: 1676). The edition has a frontispiece, and Latin summaries and running verse translation in the footnotes, neither of which are found in the prior one. It was also issued with a variant title-page and 142 pages of commentary at the end. The editor was Richard West (c.1671-1716) (Durham). The copy was in the third Wilkes library sale (the second to be posthumous), London, Leigh, Sotheby & Son, which began on 29 November 1802. Our lot, number 1317, was actually sold on Monday 6 December (the seventh and last day). The hammer price was a shilling, and buyer, Ormerod. 


One volume, 19.5 cms. x 12.7 cms., octavo, pp. [8] 294 [37] [1] + intaglio frontispiece. Intaglio vignette to title-page signed MB del. Greek letter, some Latin in footnotes. Flaw in text, sig. P1 (pp. 113-114), removing two Greek letters, p. 113, and four, p. 114. Light browning, bound in early chocolate calf, covers filletted in gilt, spine with five raised bands, decorated in gilt, oval red goatskin gilt label, gilt to edges, marbled pastedowns and endpapers (spine relaid and joints renewed reportedly by Bernard Middleton, binding slightly rubbed and worn with the odd trace of worming).


1. John Wilkes. 2. Sold, London, Monday 6 December 1802 to Ormerod. 3. Bookseller A.R. Heath, a cutting from his catalogue, May 1997, tipped to rear endpaper recto, 4. Eric de Bellaigue, his booklabel, his annotation to the Heath description, and pencil notes to rear endpaper recto.


Wing (first edition) T852 (the same Wing number is used today - cf. EEBO). T.F. Dibdin, An introduction to the Greek and Latin classics, fourth edition (2 vols., 1827), II, 487. Durham University Library cataloguing of the longer edition, at (accessed 28 March 2024).

A catalogue of the very valuable library. John Wilkes esq., M.P. [...] [London] Printed by T. Burton, Little Queen Street [1802]. Reproduced in A.N.L. Munby, general ed., Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons, Volume 8, Politicians [ed. Seamus Deane], (London 1973), 125-178.