London: Bickers and Son, 1906. New edition. Hardcover. Quarto (9 x 6 1/4"). , cxxx, 299, pp (Vol. 1); , 491, pp (Vol. 2); , 487, pp (Vol. 3); , 496pp (Vol. 4). Uncut and partly unopened. Contemporary olive cloth, with gold lettering to spines and blason in gilt to each front cover, with motto "Durete." Tissue-guarded frontispiece of the author in volume 3. Title pages in red and black lettering.
The "Diary of John Evelyn," a "gentlemanly Royalist and virtuoso of the seventeenth century, was first published in 1818 under the title Memoirs Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, in an edition by William Bray. Bray was assisted by William Upcott, who had access to the Evelyn family archives. The diary of Evelyn's contemporary Samuel Pepys was first published in 1825, and became more celebrated; but the publication of Evelyn's work in part prompted the attention given to Pepys's.
Evelyn's diary has entries running from 1640, when the author was a student at the Middle Temple, to 1706. Its claim as a memoir to be a diary is not strict; up to around 1683 the entries were not daily additions, but were compiled much later from notes, and show in some cases the benefits of hindsight. When his travels are described, buildings or pictures may be described anachronistically, revealing the later use of other sources." (For more information, see: Gillian Darley, "John Evelyn: Living for Ingenuity" (2006), p. 23).
Moderate shelf wear to bindings with head and tails of spines rubbed. Lower front corner of first and last volume bumped, not affecting pages throughout. Previous owners' bookplates on inside of each front cover (George A. Rich), and front free endpaper (Henry Hofheimer). Bindings in overall good, interior in very good condition. g to vg. Item #45450