3 volumes. 4to., (10 ¾ x 7 ¼ inches). Half-titles, vignette title pages. Full tan calf, both covers gilt-ruled, the spine in six compartments separated by five raised bands, black morocco gilt lettering piece in one, green morocco gilt lettering piece in one, the rest elaborately gilt-tooled, gilt inner dentelles, all edges gilt (one or two minor surface abrasions).
Provenance: Bookseller’s ticket “F. S. Ellis’s Catalogue of Old Books” to front pastedown; binder’s stamp of F. Bedford to the verso of the front free endpaper; 19th century bookplate to front pastdown; bookplate of Hugh T. Fattorini (1934-2005), bibliophile, his sale, Sotheby’s 30th April 2015, lot 93, to the recto of the front free endpaper.
First edition. ONE OF 50 LARGE-PAPER COPIES, Fattorini’s copy. Published in 1818, this work remained the most important bibliographical publication on English topography for the better part of the 19th century, only superseded by the publication of “British Topography” by John P. Anderson in 1881. Upcott had intended to include Scotland and Ireland in future volumes, but never saw his vision realized. Anderson was clearly influenced and inspired by Upcott, as he refers to Upcott’s “excellent catalogue” in his preface.
Upcott was an English antiquarian bookseller and autograph collector. The illegitimate son of portrait painter Ozias Humphry, Upcott inherited Humphry’s miniatures, pictures, drawings, engravings, and correspondence with important figures, inspiring his passion for collecting. He was trained as a bookseller and worked for some time as assistant librarian at the London Institution. After resigning there, he spent the rest of his life at “Autograph Cottage” in Islington, where he built extensive shelves and storage areas to keep his collection.