Folio, four volumes (425 x 265 mm.) each, modern quarter calf, cloth boards, spines with raised bands, ornate gilt ruled compartments, gilt volume numbers and titles. With frontispiece engraved portrait of William Camden in the first volume, typographic title pages to each volume, pp. ccvi, 415, ; iv, 518, ; iv, 527, ; , iv, 570, . With 160 engraved plates and maps. Of these, 104 are engraved plates of which 8 are double page and 56 are engraved maps, of which 51 are double page, there is one further plate set within the text listed in the contents of volume IV accordingly, a folding letterpress in volume two (p. 263) on the genealogy of Oliver Cromwell. Other additional engraved illustrations within the text, omitting Saxon England never bound, otherwise in good condition.
This is the second edition of Richard Gough’s translation of William Camden’s Britannia. Gough had been working on updating and expanding the work in preparation of a second edition. The acquisition by John Stockdale of the rights to Gough’s text of the Britannia, is said by the printer John Nichols, to have upset Gough who refused to have anything further with the publication. It is believed Gough personally oversaw the first volume but on 14 March 1806 ‘publicly disclaimed any connexion with the succeeding volumes’. He stated ‘Mr. Gough, finding it of importance to his health that he should suspend such pursuits, considers himself at full liberty to decline proceeding any further than to complete the Volume which Messrs. Robinsons had begun to print’. From about 1806 Gough began to suffer repeated bouts of epilepsy (Gentleman’s Magazine).
To complete the work Stockdale is understood to have sought the services of Sir William Betham (c.1779-1853) to complete the second edition. The evidence to support this comes from his obituary published in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1853. The work was issued in what appears to have been monthly parts, the first being issued on 27 February 1806. The four completed volumes were to be priced at four guineas or six guineas on superior paper with the maps coloured. The date of issue of the final part is unknown but a clue may be found in the earlier mentioned obituary piece on Betham, where a note states that ‘the completed work was published in 1807 by Mr. John Stockdale’. The date 1806 is found on each of the four title pages, however the printers imprint varies. The first two volumes were undertaken by J Nichols and Son. The third was printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street and the fourth by S. Gosnell, Little Queen Street. The printer Nichols suffered a destructive fire on 8 February 1808 at his premises which is presumably unrelated. Gough’s name is credited in all four volumes, no doubt due to his reputation but presumably without his approval. Most of the maps now bear the imprint of Stockdale below the title and the date 1805. Carroll (1996) no. 49; Chubb (1927) 272; Fordham (1925a) pp. 31; Gentleman’s Magazine May 1814 p. 480; Nichols, J (1812-15) ‘Literary anecdotes of the eighteenth-century’, volume 8 p. 482.