SURTEES, Robert (1779–1834). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. London: Nichols, son and Bentley, 1816 - 1820 -1823 - 1840.

$ 8,500.00

SURTEES, Robert (1779–1834). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham; compiled from original records, preserved in public repositories and private collections: and illustrated by engravings of architectural and monumental antiquities, portraits of eminent persons, &c, &c, &c. London: Printed by and for Nichols, Son and Bentley, Red Lion Passage, Fleet Street; and G. Andrews, Durham, 1816

[WITH]: RAINE, Reverend James (1791–1858). The History and Antiquities of North Durham, as subdivided into the Shires of Norham, Island, and Bedlington, which, from the Saxon Period until the Year 1844, constituted parcels of the County Palatine of Durham, but are now United to the County of Northumberland. London: Published by John Bowyer Nichols and Son, and George Andrews, Durham, 1852.

Together 5 volumes. Folio (18 2/8 x 11 6/8 inches). Surtees: A fine engraved plate of Raby Castle after William Turner and 76 plates of views, 5 of portraits, and numerous engravings and etchings within the text, 3 on papier de Chine, throughout (some heavily spotted). Raine: Engraved frontispiece portrait, map of Norhamshire and Islandshire, 10 plates of views, and one double-page genealogy (some occasionally heavy spotting). Uniformly bound in a fine 19th-century binding of full green morocco by Hayday & Co, each cover with a broad and elaborate border of multiple gilt roll tools, the spines in seven compartments with six raised bands, red morocco lettering-pieces in three, the others decorated with fine gilt tools, inner dentelles decorated with fine gilt acorn roll tools, all edges gilt.

Provenance: with the bookseller's ticket of Willis & Sotheran of the Strand in London; the armorial bookplate of Thomas Brooke, FSA, Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield, Yorkshire obscured by that of Geoffrey Ecroyd; with R.D. Steadman of Newcastle upon Tyne, their bookseller's ticket, all on the front paste-down of each volume; and of Hugh Fattorini on the front paste-down of volume one, his sale, Sotheby's 30th April, 2015, lot 94   

FIRST EDITIONS AND LARGE-PAPER COPIES, many of the plates marked 'proof'. "Surtees's antiquarian interests developed early, especially in numismatics and in the study of regional folklore. As an undergraduate he resolved to write the history of Durham, which he had the means and leisure, and scholarly training, to investigate thoroughly. He aimed at not only comprehensive documentary research but also the investigation of monuments and local topographical detail. He was assisted by the willingness of the dean and chapter of Durham to allow him access to their library and collections, and to their muniments, and the local nobility and gentry allowed comparable privileges to a fellow landowner. Poor health impeded his researches and his history was composed intermittently, but (having been first advertised on 14 April 1812) its first volume appeared in 1816, the second in 1820, the third in 1823, and the fourth posthumously (edited and much augmented by James Raine) as late as 1840. The work was well subscribed in the county but was an expensive enterprise for its author. Although other county histories were beginning to include geological and archaeological information, Surtees maintained the old genealogical tradition, and his pedigrees are well presented and generally reliable. In a county whose Victoria history is regrettably uncompleted, Surtees's History (which was reprinted in 1972) remains an essential resource at the end of the twentieth century. Surtees showed a partiality for historically evocative scenery and a creditable scepticism for the traditions of a vigorous local folklore, for which he sought documentary verifications wherever possible. Industrious and exact, the History is nevertheless enlivened by many light literary touches. Robert Southey, reviewing the work in the Quarterly Review, drew attention to this unexpected humorous trait, ‘every now and then breaking out like a gleam of sunshine … and exciting the reader to a smile when least expecting to be surprised’ (Quarterly Review, 39, 1829, 361)...To meet the exigencies of succession Surtees's books and pictures were sold by Walker, a Durham auctioneer, at Mainsforth in December 1836 and January 1837. His manuscript collections, threatened with dispersal, were largely saved and a substantial group of sixty volumes survives in the dean and chapter library of Durham Cathedral. His coins were sold in London by Sothebys for more than £600. On 27 May 1834 Surtees's friends, led by the Revd James Raine, met in Durham and founded in his memory the Surtees Society, which still flourishes, for publishing documentary sources for the history of Northumbria" (Alan Bell for DNB). 

Surtees first met his collaborator Raine in 1812. In 1819 "Walter Scott wrote to Raine urging him to the study of ‘a treasure of ancient papers preserved at Durham which wanted only the zeal and firmness of a northern Leland to examine and arrange them’ (Letters). By then, as chapter librarian and with Surtees's example before him, he scarcely needed this further encouragement. His first efforts were in unselfishly assisting friends in the composition of their topographical works. The county historians John Hodgson, Sir Cuthbert Sharp, and Surtees himself, all paid tribute to Raine's unstinting assistance. Surtees stated that his History of Durham would never have been completed but for Raine's indefatigable industry (History, 1, 1816, x). Raine subsequently became his friend's literary executor and arranged and edited the fourth volume of Surtees's History of Durham (1840). In 1827 he had performed a similar service for John Hodgson, for whom during the author's absence abroad he saw through the press volume 3, part 2, of theHistory of Northumberland; he later wrote a two-volume memoir of Hodgson (1857).

"In 1828 Raine published his first substantial independent work, a monograph on St Cuthbert, including an account of the saint's remains discovered in Durham Cathedral in 1827. In 1830 appeared the first part of Raine's History of North Durham (that is, those detached parts of the county palatine, including Norham and Holy Island, which after 1844 were statutorily united to Northumberland). The second part of Raine's History eventually appeared in 1852. Although some later writers have expressed reservations about Raine's charter scholarship, the history was important in its day and still remains useful" (Alan Bell for DNB). Catalogued by Kate Hunter