London: Septimus Prowett, 1827. First edition thus. Imperial octavo (pages 267 x 180 mm), collating complete including half titles and 24 mezzotint engravings (several with tissue guards: , 228; , 218. Bound in 19th century half straight-grained morocco over marbled boards, all edges gilt. Marbled end papers, with the bookplates of William Thomlinson on the front pastedowns of each volume. Minor chipping and wear to the leather, but boards holding well. Internal contents suffer varying degress of foxing and offsetting (as often) from moderate to more severe. Despite the defects, a handsome copy of this famous illustrated edition.
John Martin (1789 - 1854) was a noted English Romantic Painter and engraver. His work for Samuel Prowett, found in these volumes, was the apex of his engraving career and stands as one of the greatest illustrated editions of Paradise Lost ever produced. His engravings are dazzling in their contrasting palpable darkness and piercing light and prove almost equal to the task of representing Milton's literary masterpiece. It deservedly continues to be considered the most important and desirable illustrated edition of this celestial epic. Very Good (Item #5167)