The Microcosm of London, or London in Miniature
London: R. Ackermann, 1808.
Beautifully illustrated with 104 brilliantly hand-colored aquatint plates after Thomas Rowlandson and A.C. Pugin [Pugin engraved the architectural details & Rowlandson the figures]. 3 volumes. Illustrated woodcut titles and engraved dedication page to the Prince of Wales in each volume. , iv, , 231; , vi, 239; , iv, 280,  pages. Large 4tos, bound in contemporary 3/4 red calf over marbled boards with gilt spines; marbled endpapers; all edges yellow. London: R. Ackermann, 1808-1810.
First edition, likely bound from the original parts, without the half titles as was often the case; the papers are watermarked 1806 & 1807 and containing 11 of Abbey's 12 key plates are in the first "luminescent" state, and 12 of the 13 errata points still un-corrected. Offsetting from plates as usual, and dedication pages are foxed, but otherwise an exceptionally clean and bright copy with very infrequent spotting in margins on a handful of pages.
Rowlandson's first and most famous color-plate book, increasingly difficult to obtain in early state, as so many copies were broken up to sell the images individually. Ackermann is credited with establishing art lithography in England and this is one of his most interesting and valuable works. "The Microcosm of London is one of the great colour-plate books, and a carefully selected copy should form the cornerstone of any collection of books on this subject... The plates present an unrivaled picture of London in the early 19th century, of historic value, as many of the buildings no longer exist." --Tooley 7. "Original impressions of these splendid plates have a luminous quality entirely absent from later printings". --Abbey Scenery 212.
Illustrator: Thomas Rowlandson & Augustus Charles Pugin
Condition: Near Fine