London, 1803. Second (and best) edition, with additions. Folio (11 1/4 x 18 3/4). Portrait, title, (iv), xxiv, 240 pages, 32 plates (some hand colored). Recent period-style half calf & marbled boards, original marbled edges. Front endpapers discolored (from glue?); portrait has marginal foxing & small dampstain; light old damp top margin of first 45 pages & intermittently thereafter, but not disturbing; rich ink of the engraved plates lightly offset as usual; generally clean, crisp, handsome, very good copy. Rare large paper copy. Item #17281
The first major English work of paleography. The plates illustrate all sorts of writing and alphabets, including Phoenician, Greek, Lombardic, Celtic, modern Gothic, Franco-Teutonic, ornamented initials, Secret Writing, and Ogham. Astle was Keeper of Records at the British Museum, and Cataloguer of the Harleian Manuscripts. Astle believed that printing probably originated in China. This large paper format allows the plates to lie flat with a vertical orientation (not folded, as in the regular edition, with an horizontal orientation). And the wide margins show Bensley's beautiful printing to advantage. The text is printed in English, Latin, and Greek. Although the last plate is numbered xxxi, there are two plates xiv (a & b). The new material concerns Pelasgian writing. Bigmore & Wyman I, 20. Bonacini 104.