- Museum number
The Seasons by James Thomson, illustrated with engravings by F. Bartolozzi RA, and P. W. Tomkins, Historical Engravers to Their Majesties; from original pictures painted for the work by W. Hamilton, RA (London, printed for P. W. Tomkins, New Bond Street, the letterpress by T. Bensley, the types by V.Figgins: 1797, in fact 1798); the complete book with 21 illustrations.
Etching and stipples all printed in colours
- Production date
Height: 475 millimetres
Width: 380 millimetres (sheet size)
- Curator's comments
- This sumptuous atlas folio edition of James Thomson's 'Seasons' was illustrated by William Hamilton and engraved by Bartolozzi and Tomkins. It was printed by Bensley and published by Tomkins with the date on the titlepage of 1797. But many of the plates have the publication line from 1798, which shows that the book was delayed in production. Each of the four Seasons has a vignette; headpiece, full-page illustration; and a tailpiece. In addition there was a frontispiece with the Seasons placing a laurel wreath on the bust of Thomson, and a 'Hymn' at the end, which had its own vignette, headpiece, full-page plate, and tailpiece. This makes a total of 21 engravings which were all in stipple. Proofs were printed separately from the book edition. The four full-page plates may have been previously separately published in 1793, to judge from their earlier publication lines.
The BM possesses a fine bound copy of the printed edition (166.d.5: 1903,0623.1.1 to 21) in which all the plates are printed in colours. The titles of the plates given here are taken from the list printed after the list of subscribers.
The BM also possesses two loose sets of the prints: 1859.0312.388 to 406 and 1887,0613.38 to 58. The 1859 set is derived from a cut-up copy of the book, and there is letterpress on the verso of many of the plates. The 1887 set are all proofs printed on full sheets apart from the book. This set is also accompanied by four vignettes of putti representing the four Seasons which were not used in the book (1887,0613.59 to 62). The BM also has a number of individual proofs for the plates.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: The Seasons
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- With the bookplate of George Gostling, whose name in included in the original subscriber list which is printed in this volume.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number