HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE [with,] MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF EDWARD GIBBON, Esquire With Memoirs of His Life and Writings Composed by Himself: Illustrated From His Letters, With Occasional Notes and Narrative, by John Lord Sheffield. In Two Volumes
HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE [with,] MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF EDWARD GIBBON, Esquire With Memoirs of His Life and Writings Composed by Himself: Illustrated From His Letters, With Occasional Notes and Narrative, by John Lord Sheffield. In Two Volumes
HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE [with,] MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF EDWARD GIBBON, Esquire With Memoirs of His Life and Writings Composed by Himself: Illustrated From His Letters, With Occasional Notes and Narrative, by John Lord Sheffield. In Two Volumes

HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE [with,] MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF EDWARD GIBBON, Esquire With Memoirs of His Life and Writings Composed by Himself: Illustrated From His Letters, With Occasional Notes and Narrative, by John Lord Sheffield. In Two Volumes

(London: for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776-1788; 1796).

VERY RARE FIRST EDITION, FIRST IMPRESSION OF EACH VOLUME. BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED IN FULL AND VERY HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY CALF BINDINGS IN ORIGINAL CONDITION AND RETAINING THE ORIGINAL SPINE PANELS. WITH THE RARE HALF-TITLES TO VOLUMES 3-6, AND A LARGER COPY THAN IS USUALLY ENCOUNTERED. THIS COLLECTION ALSO WITH THE TWO VOLUMES OF THE MISCELLANEOUS WORKS. Approximately 1000 copies of the various states of the the first edition of the first volume were most likely printed though the original plan was for only 500. Thus, full sets of the first edition are now rare and first issue copies, doubly so.
THE GREATEST HISTORICAL WORK EVER UNDERTAKEN. It was in Italy while "musing amid the ruins of the Capital" that Gibbon formed the plan of his history. Originally published in six volumes from 1776 to 1788, Gibbon's fine scholarship has remained for the most part unchallenged. The work's numerous reprintings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are evidence of its popularity and historical accuracy.
The success of the work was immediate. "I am at a loss," Gibbon wrote, "how to describe the success of the work without betraying the vanity of the writer. The first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand, and the bookseller's property was twice invaded by the pyrates of Dublin. My book was on every table, and almost on every toilette...." Publication of this grand work placed Gibbon at the "very head of the literary tribe" in Europe, according to Adam Smith.
"For twenty-two years Gibbon was a prodigy of steady and arduous application. His investigations extended over almost the whole range of intellectual activity for nearly fifteen-hundred years. And so thorough were his methods that the laborious investigations of German scholarship, the keen criticisms of theological zeal, and the steady researches of (two) centuries have brought to light very few important errors in the results of his labors. But it is not merely the learning of his work, learned as it is, that gives it character as a history. It is also that ingenious skill by which the vast erudition, the boundless range, the infinite variety, and the gorgeous magnificence of the details are all wrought together in a symmetrical whole. It is still entitled to be esteemed as the greatest historical work ever written" (Adams, Manual of Historical Literature, pp. 146-147).
Concerning the Miscellaneous Works, here are included notes, letters, diaries, essays and unpublished works. The printing includes pieces in both English and French and occasional writing in Latin is interspersed. The work was gathered by Lord Sheffield and it was on the Sheffield family estate that Gibbon was buried after his passing. Item #31222

8 volumes. RARE AND ELUSIVE FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF ALL SIX VOLUMES OF THE HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL. FIRST STATE of Volume I with errata uncorrected in the text and notes and with the cancels as called for, X4 (text) and a4 (notes) are so signed. Only 500 copies of the first issue of Volume I are known to have been printed. With the FIRST EDITION of the MISCELLANEOUS WORKS. Engraved portrait after the painting by Joshua Reynolds in Volume I, three large and finely engraved folding maps of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire and Constantinople. With the half-titles to Volumes III-VI of the Decline and Fall. The Miscellaneous Works with a silhouette engraving to Volume I. 4to (280 x 220 mm), in a beautiful binding of full contemporary mottled calf, the covers with borders in gilt, the backs fully gilt with compartments separated by gilt tooled lines and gilt rolled decorative bands. Elaborately and handsomely designed in the compartments incorporating central gilt tools, and elaborate overall tooling gilt, lettering and numbering in gilt on red morocco labels in the appropriate compartments. History of the Decline and Fall: viii, (xvi), (vii, blank), (1) - 586, (2 Notes, Advertisements), lxxxviii, (1 errata, blank); (2), (1) - 640, (errata, blank), ; (xii), (1) - 640, (1 errata, blank); (iv), viii, (viii), (1) - 620; (xii), (1) - 684; (xiv), (1) - 646, (51, General Index), (1 errata) pp.; Miscellaneous Works: xxv, (1 errata), 703, blank; viii, 726, (errata, advertisements leaf) pp. A very handsome set of both of Gibbon's writings, the text leaves very well preserved, quite clean, crisp and unpressed, the bindings handsomely presented, the hinges and tips restored and strengthened as required over the years, original spine panels laid down, one volume number replaced at a later date, one volume with hinges starting, the spine panels all original to the bindings. A rare and elusive set restored as required and retaining all the original materials, the backs all original to the bindings.

Price: $29,500.00