London: Charles Bill, and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb deccas'd, 1691. 8vo (page size 172 x 104 mm). Ruled In red throughout. 63 (allegedly of 64) plates, including portrait frontispiece of King William and extra engraved title, skillfully colored by a contemporary hand, heightened with gold. Contemporary binding by Robert Steel of black goatskin, sides with central lounge and corner-pieces built up from small tools, triple fillet outer rule, spine divided Into seven panels with six raised bands, Steel's characteristic conventional flower tool repeated four times in three panels, his small skull and crossbones repeated four times In four, comb-marbled endpapers, gilt edges, with A CONTEMPORARY FLORAL FORE-EDGE PAINTING. Provenance: Roderick Terry (his sale, 1934, lot 21). Slight wear to joints at foot. Blue morocco-backed slip case (erroneously attributing the binding to Mearne). Item #408481
Robert Steel was apprenticed to Samuel Mearne from 1668 to 1675, before establishing his own shop. He was last heard of in 1710, when he was possibly installed in the former Mearne shop in Little Britain. His widow carried on the business after his death. Steel's characteristic skull and crossbones tool can be seen on Michael Tomkinson sale, Sotheby's, 3 July 1922, lot 1073, and on Maggs catalogue 966, no. 74; his conventional flower tool is used on the spine of no. 53, Nixon, Five centuries of English Bookbinding; and the central quatrefoil and surrounding tools at the center of the sides are also used (a little clumsily) on no. 148, Foot, Henry Davis Gift II, and again with some variation on Maggs 966, no. 74. The engraved title-page calls for 64 plates, but there is no evidence of a plate having been removed from this copy. See Weber, p. 243.