London: Printed by A. Hancock for the Author, and sold by Holtzapffel and Deyerlein, Engine Manufacturers, Cockspur Street, Charing Cross; and by Stewart, Ivory Turner, Oxford Street, near the Pantheon, 1817. First edition. 8vo, finely bound in contemporary or somewhat later full tan English calf, richly decorated in blind within gilt panels forming concentric rectangles, the whole bordered with triple gilt fillets; spine with five raised bands, ruled, lettered and decorated in gilt; board edges and turn-ins decorated in gilt; green endpapers; all page edges gilt. (2), 86 pages, interleaved with tissue guards; 65 text illustrations; 6 finely engraved plates. [bound with] Ibbetson, John Holt. A SPECIMEN OF A PLAN FOR PROTECTING BANK NOTES AGAINST FORGERY. Single sheet folded in quarters, signed Smith Street, Chelsea, 21st May, 1819, depicting a specimen of Ibbetson’s engraved segmented borders, replete with complex geometric patterns, designed expressly for bank note printing. [bound with] Ibbetson, John Holt. ADDITIONAL SPECIMENS OF ECCENTRIC CIRCULAR TURNING. 17 leaves onto which have been mounted a total of 29 engravings with tissue guards, as follows: 4 leaves, each with a folding plate produced through eccentric circular turning, one of them printed on red; 10 leaves, each with two fine circular engravings entirely or partly illustrating examples of eccentric circular turning, mounted within hand-drawn boxes; 1 larger circular engraved specimen of eccentric circular turning; and 2 final leaves, each with two fine rectangular engravings mostly illustrating examples of eccentric circular turning within other engraved work, mounted within hand-drawn boxes. Volume bound with several blank leaves fore and aft. Leaves generally bright, with light discoloration at mounted illustrations from where originally affixed and mild foxing to the original six plates; tops of joints a bit weak, especially the front, though binding entirely intact. A beautiful, nearly fine volume. Item #6885
The extremely rare first edition of Ibbetson’s work, bound with additional examples of his titular technology. While initially developed as a decorative or artistic technique (“Turning is now so generally resorted to as an amusement...”), Ibbetson’s efforts to apply mechanical processes to it revealed the potential for important practical applications, most particularly in security printing and banknote engraving. Ibbetson had wanted to publish on the top for some time, “but the very great expense of getting the necessary engravings executed, indeed the almost impossibility of getting them done at all, has hitherto prevented him from carrying his intention into effect. He has, however, never abandoned his object; and pursuing it, has, at length, constructed a piece of Machinery which enables him to engrave the copper-plates himself.” This pioneering work was a key factor in the development of the author’s “invention for the better protecting bank-notes against forgery” first proposed by him the following year. We last offered a copy of this edition, with its six impressively rendered plates, in 1996. This specially bound copy, however, includes additional engravings. The single-sheet 1819 Specimen of a Plan for Protecting Bank Notes against Forgery is an early attempt by Ibbetson to draw notice to the potential for his invention in banknote printing (this production is Goldsmiths’ 22462). The following 17 leaves of supplementary illustrations include attractive and complicated examples of scrollwork and designs intended for security printing, various designs capable of being replicated by an attentive amateur, and practical design work including for use in calling cards (the author’s card serves as an illustration). Ibbetson would continue to promote his technology in his Practical View of an Invention for the Better Protecting Bank-Notes against Forgery, first published in 1820. While no inscription is to be found in this earlier volume, it was clearly intended for special presentation, and the care taking in its binding has preserved the contents for our appreciation today. A remarkable volume.