BEWICK, Thomas. AESOP. ~ The Fables of Aesop, and others, with designs on wood by Thomas Bewick.
323 wood engravings by Thomas Bewick. First edition, one of 500 large copies on Imperial thick wove paper watermarked 1806, there were also 1500 copies in Royal and Demy sizes..Imperial 8vo, contemporary full calf decorated in gilt and blind, marbled edges, marbled endpapers, rebacked with gilt decorated spine, a strong, good-looking copy. Extra-illustrated by its first owner in 1820 with 56 copper plates from Stockdale’s Aesop which are pasted in at the top or bottom of the page with the relevant fable.
Armorial bookplate and signature of the Rev. William Turner who has inscribed the book dating his pasting in of the extra engravings as 1820 on the title page. The Rev. William Turner was a Unitarian minister in Newcastle and an intimate friend of Bewick. Turner established two Sunday schools and was a founding member of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle where he was Lecturer on Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Secretary. The signature in the book matches one reproduced in Jenny Uglow’s book on Bewick which has a picture of William Turner reproducing his signature beneath it.
Without the so-called ‘Thumb-Mark’ receipt. In some copies there was a leaf with a printed Bewick thumb-mark and the facsimiles of signatures and seaweed stamped on it which were run off the press separately designed originally for subscribers. Tattersfield quotes this about the receipts - “We at first sent the Books without them, but as soon as it became known to the public this would not do...it has given us a great deal of unlooked-for-trouble...” as people didn’t feel their books were complete without them”. This copy does not have the thumb-mark receipt. Perhaps this could be explained by it being given to Turner as one of Bewick’s close friends or that Turner saw no reason to keep it.