1858. A collection of 78 engraved vignettes compiled by various sources, mostly but not entirely American, affixed to pages and bound using the exquisite but completely unrelated binding for a volume of the Regulations for the Establishment and Government of the Royal Military Asylum, 1803. 12mo, contemporary crimson straight-grained morocco, both sides paneled with double gilt fillets and upper cover lettered in gilt; spine ruled and decorated in gilt; board edges hatched in gilt; gilt inner dentelles. Hand-lettered title page within engraved border; 23 leaves, onto 22 of which have been glued various engraved vignettes, generally three to a page. Binding a little rubbed; some mild spotting. A little musty. Very good or better. Item #5874
Clearly not a professional compilation, but still quite charming. Three vignettes include engraved copyright declarations dated 1857 to Wellstood, Hay & Whiting, New York; another is credited to Wellstood, Benson & Hanks. Wellstood, Benson & Hanks was founded in 1848. It became Wellstood, Hanks, Hay & Whiting in 1852, and was reorganized again as Wellstood, Hay & Whiting in 1855. Wellstood, Hay & Whiting was one of the seven companies that merged in 1858 to form the American Bank Note Company. While most of the vignettes appear to be of American origin, a few depict British themes or personalities, with one credited as “Drawn & Engraved by J. Stephenson,” who was English engraver active in the 1840s. An intriguing item from the Eric P. Newman Library.