London: Mark Baskett and the Assigns of Robert Baskett, 1767. First edition. Folio measuring 300 x 190mm in self wraps, collating complete: , 503-506, [2, blank]. In Fine condition, with the slightest offsetting to the rear wrap. ESTC reports only 6 institutional holdings (of these, 3 are at the Grolier Club); and the present is the only copy on the market.
[Accompanied by] An Act for Enlarging the Term of Letters Patent Granted by His Present Majesty to Elizabeth Taylor of the Town of Southampton, Widow, for the Sole Use and Exercise of Certain Engines, Tools, Instruments, and other Apparatus...London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan 1776. First edition. Folio measuring 305 x 195mm in self wraps and collating complete , 447-456. Near Fine, with occasional offsetting not affecting legibility of text. A scarcity that ESTC records at only 2 libraries, with the present being the only example in trade.
For Jane Hogarth and Elizabeth Taylor, two widows whose husbands had excelled in very different professions, securing copyright protections to their husbands' works had dual importance. In addition to providing financial security, these two legal decisions tacitly acknowledged the innovative contributions women made to family businesses that did not bear their names.
The earlier of the two, Jane Hogarth was widow of the famed engraver, painter, printmaker, political cartoonist and satirist William Hogarth (1697-1764). Among the most successful English artists of his generation, the images created and distributed by him retained popularity long after his death. The present Act ensures that Jane Hogarth (1709-1789) was awarded the sole right to use and reprint the works he created in his lifetime for a term of 20 years. Unauthorized use of Hogarth's art was subject to copyright infringement penalties to be awarded to Jane Hogarth.
Nine years later, Elizabeth Taylor won similar control over her husband's inventions. William Taylor (d. 1759) was the creator of gun tackle, blocks, sheavers and pins, and other equipment widely used by the Royal Navy. This Act entitled her to the same powers, privileges, and benefits of Letters Patent that Walter held in his lifetime; and the act extended protections to her for an additional fourteen years.
Combined, these two women's legal battles accomplished a feat that would not be brought to law and secured for other women for another half century, through the 1814 and 1842 Copyright Acts. In addition to providing them with the reliable income from their husbands' creations -- as well as control over their husbands' and therefore their families' legacies -- these copyrights acknowledged implicitly that William Hogarth and Walter Taylor's work were not the product of singular men. Rather, the labor their wives did in support of their businesses was key and worthy of compensation after the innovators' deaths. Near Fine (Item #4512)