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Orbis Sensualium Pictus [Richard Sheridan's Copy]

 
Orbis Sensualium Pictus [Richard Sheridan's Copy] by COMENIUS, Jan Amos [Richard Brinsley Sheridan] (1777)

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Author: COMENIUS, Jan Amos [Richard Brinsley Sheridan]
Title: Orbis Sensualium Pictus [Richard Sheridan's Copy]
 
Year: 1777
Publisher: S Leacroft
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
 
Price: £1250
 
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Added under Rare books

Playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan's copy, likely inherited from his father the Irish educationalist and dictionary-writer, Thomas Sheridan.

Bound in recent speckled calf over the original paste-boards; spine in six compartments with red lettering piece. New endpapers of eighteenth century paper with Sheridan's bookplate retained in its original position on the first pastedown; closed tear across the righthand section of plate and pencilling. Ownership signature of 'Maria Nivin Her Book' on final endpaper. Twentieth century gift inscription on second blank: 'To the Principal Grove House January 1932 from CGM'. A clean copy, four leaves with slightly ragged top edges, possibly paper flaws. Collates complete: [xvi] pp198, [6]

Thomas Sheridan (1719-1788) was an Irish stage actor, an educator, and a proponent of the elocution movement who published a General Dictionary of the English Language in 1780. It seems very probably that his more renowned playwright son, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, received this work from his father and commemorated his ownership by inserting his own armorial bookplate. Comenius's pioneering school reader with its parallel Latin and English texts keyed to myriad tiny engravings sits in the middle of both Sheridans' interests and has an enduring importance as explained by Percy Muir who calls its writer: 'The father of all direct attempts to teach children by means of pictures is the German Comenius... its fundamental importance is not to be questioned' going on to discuss the peculiar charm of the combination of didactic text with its everyday subject matter. Among many other topics Comenius tackles 'Crawling Vermin', 'Weaving', the work of the 'Carpenter' and 'The Shoemaker' and even 'The Bookseller'. 'Moral philosophy' is included as are 'The Clouds' and 'Society betwixt Man and Wife', each with an appropriate annotated engraving to help the student.
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