Thomas à Kempis. Of the Imitation of Jesus Christ. London: 1828. First Pickering edition with a double fore-edge painting.

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282J  Thomas à Kempis. Thomas Dibden (1776-1847) tr.

Of the Imitation of Jesus Christ.

London: William Pickering and John Major, 1828.        $ SOLD

First Pickering edition at the Shakespeare Head Press. First Dibdin Edition. ONE OF 750 COPIES (according to Dibdin, “Reminiscences,” p. 829)

Octavo 8 1/4 x 5 inches;  [clx], 389, [1, blank], [1, Additional Subscribers], [1, blank] pages; engraved frontispiece, engraved dedication page inserted and three mounted engravings within the text; fragment of an autograph letter signed by Dibdin mounted before page xxv (Dibdin’s signature is present).

In The Imitation, Thomas combines a painfully accurate analysis of the soul with a clear vision of the fullness of the divine life. He does not describe the spiritual life in a linear way, as if one step precedes another, but instead repeats and embellishes themes, like a symphonic composer.

Untitled 5Thomas Frognall Dibdin’s Introduction to the knowledge of rare and valuable editions of the Greek and Latin Classics (1802) attracted the notice of Lord Spencer, through whose patronage Dibdin obtained a clerical appointment in London. His Bibliotheca Spenceriana (1814–15) became famous for the high quality of its printing. Dibdin traveled widely in search of books and manuscripts, and his Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany (1821) is typical of his work in containing much lively anecdote, many factual errors, and some excellent engravings. His Bibliomania (1809) contributed to the public’s interest in old and rare books. Among his many other works is the two-volume autobiography.

 This copy is Bound by Rowrod in nineteenth-century brown calf, boards triple-Untitled 4 2ruled and paneled in gilt, spine tooled in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, black gilt morocco lettering label, gilt board edges and turn-ins; marbled endleaves; all edges gilt.spine worn; rear joint cracking; edgewear to boards; some light soiling to boards. Hinges starting; minor occasional foxing in text; a few leaves mildly creased. A good copy with excellent fore-edge paintings. Housed in red cloth slipcase.

With this book there is a fragment of an autograph letter signed by Dibdin mounted before page xxv (Dibdin’s signature is present)




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Finely-detailed full-color double fore-edge paintings of:

The Last Supper after da Vinci


The Adoration of the Shephards after Gandolfi. 

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Three early copies of the original exist.

Three of da Vinci’s students, including Giampietrino, made copies of his painting early in the 16th century. Giampietrino did a full-scale copy that is now in London’s Royal Academy of Arts. This oil painting on canvas was the primary resource for the latest restoration of the work. The second copy by Andrea Solari is in the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Belgium while the third copy by Cesare da Sesto is in the Church of Saint Ambrogio in Switzerland.