Select Fables of Esop and Other Fabulists in Three Books
. F.C. & J. Rivington; Wilkie & Robinson; et al , Printed for F.C. & J. Rivington . London
PN982.D6 1812 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This little book with a deteriorating calf spine and a separated calf front cover fits nicely among the Dodsley editions I already have. It seems that the earliest editions from the first in 1761 up to about 1777 favored small illustrations in groups of twelve medallions on a single page. The edition I have dated to 1780? seems to have broken this tradition. It presents one hundred-fifty-nine individual woodcuts, about a third of a page in size, each with its own fable. The first of them in that book is signed J. Gilbert del. et sculp: 1777. Bodemann notes this signature in #190.3, dated to 1805 and published in London by G. & J. Robinson. That seems to be her only mention of J. Gilbert. One may be able to recognize these illustrations by the printer's decorations around the upper half of the rectangular images, which measure just less than 2 x 2½. Those are in fact the same illustrations in this volume. Note that there is a Robinson among the publishers, i.e., financial backers, here. In the time between the two editions, the s has taken on its contemporary shape. I read in Wikipedia that the long s died out by the beginning of the nineteenth century. In their turn, these illustrations seem to be the model for the cruder illustrations that appear in the Osborne and Mozely edition for which I have guessed a date of 1790. The text portions seem to be identical with Dodsley's 1761 first edition: the Life of Aesop, the Essay on Fable, and then the three books of fables, Ancient, Modern, and Newly Invented. The spine reads Esop's Fables and Dodsley.