First edition. 8vo. Beautifully bound in contemporary full vellum, the boards with decorative gilt borders, the spine with five raised bands, compartments richly decorated in gilt, each incorporating a gilt 'sacred ibis' emblem on a circular brown morocco onlay, and brown morocco title label lettered in gilt. Marbling to page edges and endpapers. Illustrated with 11 black and white lithographic plates by Metcalfe of Cambridge depicting Egyptian hieroglyphics, including one folding. A very good copy indeed, the binding firm and secure with a touch of cracking to the front hinge, the odd minor scratch to the boards and a couple of minor scuffs to the spine label. The contents, with a small area of abrasion to paper on the front pastedown, light toning to the plates and two plates with annotated translations in pencil are otherwise in very good order and clean throughout. A handsome copy.
An important early work on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics in a splendid contemporary Egyptianesque binding. Spineto, an Italian nobleman and scholar, fled to Britain on the wake of the French Revolution, following the invasion of Northern Italy by French revolutionary troops. As the book's dedication to George IV describes, he subsequently settled in Cambridge, involving himself in historical and literary study and teaching. He was also notable for serving as the interpreter for Theodore Majocchi, Queen Caroline's majordomo during her trial before the House of Lords, in 1820, and for marrying Elizabeth Campbell, whose portrait was painted by Henry Raeburn and who was an acquaintance of Charles Darwin. The present work was later reprinted in 1845 as "The elements of hieroglyphics and Egyptian antiquities, in a course of lectures delivered at the Royal Institution, London, and the University of Cambridge".
Stock code: 21053