CLUTTERBUCK, Robert (1772–1831). The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford; Compiled from the best Printed Authorities and Original Records, Preserved in Public Repositories and Private Collections: Embellished with Views of the Most Curious Monuments of Antiquity, and Illustrated with a Map of the County. London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, Red Lion Passage, Fleet Street, 1815, 1821, 1827.
3 volumes. Folio (19 x 12 inches). Volume one with two subscribers' lists and the directions to the binder leaf, errata leaf at end of volume III. One double-page engraved map, 5 full-page engraved maps, 3 full-page engraved plates with early colour, 45 full-page plates of views, some marked "proof", one vignette (intermittently and occasionally spotted throughout), EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with approximately 312 watercolour coats-of-arms in the margins of the pedigrees. Fine binding of full tan morocco, gilt, by Bedford, each cover decorated with a border of gilt filets and small drawer handle roll tool, the spine in seven compartments with six raised bands, gilt-lettered in two, the others decorated with small gilt tools, inner dentelles decorated with small floral roll tool, all edges gilt.
Provenance: with the engraved armorial bookplate of Sir Henry Hope Edwards on the front paste-down of each volume, and Hugh Fattorini on the front paste-down, his sale, Sotheby's 30th April, 2015, lot 99.
First edition, LARGE-PAPER AND EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED. Clutterbuck's "claim to fame is his monumental work The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford, published [as here], in three massive volumes, in 1815, 1821, and 1827. Thomas Leman supplied the early history in volume 1 (pp. vi–xvii); three volumes of Thomas Blore's manuscripts, acquired in 1811, proved invaluable. The subtitle of Clutterbuck's history claimed that the text was ‘compiled from the best printed authorities and original records preserved in public authorities’; it is vast and comprehensive. J. E. Cussans used the text for reference when visiting churches to research for his History of Hertfordshire, but claimed that Clutterbuck ‘visited but few of the parishes he describes. … He trusted entirely to assistants of greater or less accuracy’ (Deacon and Walne, 39). Since much of both histories consists of inscriptions on church memorials this is important. Branch Johnson alleged that ‘if the most austere in manner Clutterbuck is the most lavish in production’ (p. 9), and the Gentleman's Magazine claimed that ‘the plates have never been surpassed in similar productions; several were from sketches of his own’. Some were by Thomas Blore's son, Edward. While Clutterbuck produced a monumental record of manors, churches, and the landed gentry before the early nineteenth century, ‘the short and simple annals of the poor will be looked for in vain’ (Johnson, Local History, 9). In 1828, however, Clutterbuck published An Account of the Benefactions to the Parish of Watford" (Lionel M. Munby for DNB). BAL RIBA 666; Upcott I, p.623* (vol.1 only).