London: W. Bulmer, 1795; 1796. Quarto. Two books bound together in one volume: xx, 76; xv, vii, 126pp. First editions thus. With a fore-edge painting by the "double-line" painter depicting the pastoral village of Lissoy where Oliver Goldsmith spent his youth, standing in for the pseudonymous town of Auburn in Goldsmith's poem, "The Deserted Village." The artist has written the title, "Lissoy ('Auburn' of 'The Deserted Village')," on the flyleaf in pen. The first book in the volume, Poems by Goldsmith and Parnell, is illustrated with four full-page, wood-engraved plates, by Thomas Bewick and one by John Bewick, and eight wood-engraved vignettes drawn by Robert Johnson or John Bewick, and engraved by Thomas Bewick. The second book, The Chase by William Somerville, has thirteen wood-engraved vignettes, including title pages, engraved by Thomas Bewick after designs by John Bewick. The Bewick brothers were the leaders of the development of the art of wood engraving at the end of the eighteenth century. In particular, Thomas Bewick extended the range of the art by creating "a new conception of the black and white picture." These books were splendidly printed by Bulmer at his Shakespeare Printing Office. In The Bewick Collector, Thomas Hugo describes Poems by Goldsmith and Parnell as "A magnificent result of the efforts of the wood engraver, type-founder, papermaker, and printer" and writes that The Chase "contains the best specimens of John Bewick's abilities as a designer."
Bound in contemporary red straight-grain morocco with double-fillet border and a wide double-fillet frame with semi-circle insertions. This special presentation of the two books was done for Baronet Sir John James Smith, whose gilt armorial coat-of-arms is stamped in the center of the covers. With marbled endpapers and gilt dentelles to the inside edges of the covers. Housed in a matching chemise and slipcase. Binding shows some light rubbing and wear, slight bump to bottom edge of front cover, else a fine copy with a bright fore-edge painting. The bookplate of Sir John James Smith has been covered over by the armorial bookplate of Frederick S. Deck. Item #24575
(Tattersfield JB50 & JB8; Weber, pp. 95-96; Hugo 78 & 94; Ray, England, 50, [Goldsmith only]).