PORTRAIT OF AN OBSESSION: The Life of Sir Thomas Phillipps, the World's Greatest Book Collector, adapted by Nicolas Barker from the five volumes of Phillipps Studies.

First edition, first printing. Publisher's original black cloth with titles in gilt to the spine, in dustwrapper. Navy blue top-stain. Illustrated with a colour frontispiece and 12 black and white photographic plates. A near fine copy, the binding square and tight. The contents with a very minor mark to the textblock edge are otherwise clean and crisp throughout and remain free from any previous owners' inscriptions or stamps. Complete with the near fine lightly rubbed dustwrapper which has a faint crease to the front flap and some minor shelf-wear to the extremities. Not price-clipped (50s net to the front flap).

An account of the life of the somewhat eccentric nineteenth-century book collector Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872). Having famously declared that he wished "to have one copy of every book in the world", Phillipps used his wealth to form one of the greatest libraries of the period, buying the entire contents of bookshops and dominating auction proceedings (regularly outbidding his rival, the British Museum). Ultimately, despite his attempts to keep his collection together, it was posthumously dispersed, a process which took over 100 years, with significant portions finding their way into the great national libraries of the world.

Stock code: 19578


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London: Constable.


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