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Author: Thoresby, Ralph:

Title: Ducatus Leodiensis, or, the Topography of the Ancient and Populous Town and Parish of Leedes [...] To which is added, at the Request of Several Learned Persons, A Catalogue of his Musaeum, with the Curiosities Natural and Artificial, and the Antiquities [

Publication: London: printed for Maurice Atkins, and sold by Henry Clements [...], 1715.

Description: First edition, subscriber's copy. Folio, pp. vi, [ii], v-xxi, 6, 5-114, 109-268, [iii], 276-628, [xii] + portrait frontispiece and 12 further plates, some of which folding. Text continuous, irregular pagination as usual. The separate title-page of the second section, Musaeum Thoresbyanum, is dated 1713. Woodcut headpieces and initials, further illustrations in the text. MS family tree of the Sleigh family tipped in between pages 128 and 129; MS family tree of the Parker family to blank at rear. A few tiny scorches and wax spots, occasional toned plate or gathering. 19th-century light yellowish-brown polished calf, raised bands, spine heavily gilt with black morocco title label and small red date label at tail end; gilt border, frame and dentelles, a.e.g., marbled endpapers. A bit rubbed, a little loss to headcap, small chip to spine, some scratches and scrapes to boards, corners slightly worn but still a handsome copy. Large coat of arms and motto ('Medio tutissimus') of the Sleigh family printed on paper and meticulously cut out (possibly from a bookplate) and pasted onto front the paste-down. To the ffep, a recent armorial bookplate of Lowther-Pinkerton. To the top corner of the title-page, inscription of R. Witton in an old hand. Richard Witton Esq. of Wakefield is listed as one of the subscribers. This could be the barrister Richard Witton (1649-1718), or his son of the same name (1682-1746), both of whom were important local figures and lived at Lupset Hall, Wakefield. To p.1, just above the title, the inscription of Gervase Petty Sleigh dated 9th Dec. 1874. Sleigh (1854-1883) was a captain in the Siamese navy and died at sea while still relatively young. His father John wrote a history of Leeke in Staffordshire (1883). The list of subscribers includes Mr Hugh Sleigh of Leeds, against whose name a small mark has been made, presumably indicating a family member. The MS family tree (Sleigh) on the final blank appears to be in Gervase's hand. The tipped-in family tree (Parker) is in a similar hand, though perhaps not quite the same. References to Leeke have been underlined, suggesting that it may have been the work of his father.

'Thoresby's great work was the Ducatus Leodiensis, or, The Topography of Leedes (1715). From the time he settled on the project in the early 1690s, Thoresby worked industriously towards its completion. This was not the first topographical publication of importance about a provincial town but it was the first work of importance by a Yorkshire antiquary. Attached to the main body of the text was a catalogue of the Musaeum Thoresbyanum and the volume included a very fine map of the area. Ducatus was published by subscription and was dedicated to Peregrine Osborne, marquess of Carmarthen and heir apparent to the duke of Leeds, and to the mayor of Leeds and aldermen of Leeds. About 2000 copies were printed and sold for 3. A second edition appeared in 1816, with notes and additions by Thomas Dunham Whitaker.' (ODNB)

Bibliography: ESTC T139372; Upcott 1381-3

Reference Number: [52024]

Price: £950


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