Bryant’s Antient Mythology
Bryant’s Antient Mythology, 1807, 3rd edition. In six volumes. A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology: Wherein an Attempt is Made to Divest Tradition of Fable; and to Reduce the Truth to its Original Purity.
Complete in six octavo volumes, each measuring approximately 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.25 inches. Fine red leather bindings with tooled and detailed in gold. Five raised bands on spines. Marbled end papers and page edges. Book plate on front paste down of each volume. Faint damp stain affecting lower margin of boards and pages 13 - 130 of vol three, as well as a small corresponding focus of it on the bottom of vol four’s rear board. Plate xx (in vol 3) bound in upside down. Volume 1 has very slight cracking at the top and bottom of its front hinge, but all other hinges are completely intact both inside and out. A clean, bright, and tight unmarked copy with crisp rag paper leaves, wide margins, and with 41 plates and several foldout maps in strikingly good condition. Also contains a life of the author.
In the genre of mythology, prior to Bulfinch, Bryant’s was among the most celebrated, though he was certainly not without his dissenters.The plates in the first edition are known to be signed by James Basire (except the final plate which is unsigned). It is thought that William Blake (Basire’s then apprentice) contributed to the plates and the unsigned one may have been entirely his. However, in this 1807 edition. The plates are signed by another of Basire’s apprentices—John Le Keux. So it seems that new engravings were necessary for the later edition, but still were rendered by the same studio.