London: John Murray, 1909. First edition. Finely bound in the Cosway style by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in full red crushed morocco with five raised bands, inset ornately with teal, blue, and green morocco and stamped in gilt. All edges brightly gilt. Bright gilt turn-ins. Purple silk moire endpapers. Morocco doublures. Set into the front doublure of of Volume I is a finely painted miniature of Catherine de Medici under glass, framed with mother of pearl and garnets. Stamped by Sangorski & Sutcliffe on the rear turn-ins. Initials of Ohio book collector B.C. Hoffman on lower front doublure of Volume I. Both volumes in beautiful and bright condition, with hinges professionally strengthened. Housed in a custom morocco and cloth clamshell. A rare first edition set suitable for a collector's library.
"The history of the Medici is a deeply interesting story...my aim has been to write of them as a family -- their rise, their 'course upon the mountain tops,' and their decline and end," Young writes in his preface. His book, a lengthy and personal look at one of Europe's oldest and most powerful reigning families, is illustrated throughout to capture the elegance and opulence of their members as individuals and as leaders. Indeed, the de Medicis, whose members including kings, queens, and popes, shaped the early modern period in its politics, literature, art, and drama. Young's epic, beautifully bound in the Cosway style, is itself a physical manifestation of that grandeur. Fine (Item #3129)