London: Richard Bentley & Sons, 1890. First edition. Two volumes finely bound by Bayntun in full red crushed morocco stamped in gilt on spine and boards. Spine with five raised bands. All edges brightly gilt. Green silk moire endpapers. Green morocco doublures with fine inset portraits of Henry VII and Marie de Medici set under glass at front of each respective volume. Extra-illustrated with 58 extra plates, 19 of these in color. A beautiful history in a Cosway style binding.
Lady Catherine Jackson was a historian and author whose professional career began as editor and publisher of the diaries and letters of her late husband, British diplomat Sir George Jackson. After this work, Lady Jackson published a travel narrative of a Portuguese trip which was generally well received. She then turned to historical projects, beginning with a multi-century account of high society in the French court. Critics pointed to historical inaccuracies but recognized that Lady Jackson had a commendable sense of historical storytelling (DNB). Her last work tackled the rise of the House of Bourbon, whose tendrils stretched throughout countries and centuries in European monarchies. This work, The First of the Bourbons, appeared in two volumes in 1890, the year before Lady Jackson died. The present volume's sumptuous binding and extra-illustrations are a fitting match for the opulence of the Bourbon dynasty. Fine (Item #3128)