WATSON, The Reverend John

The History and Antiquities of The Parish of Halifax, in Yorkshire. Illustrated with Copper-Plates.

London: Printed for T.Lowndes. 1775.

First edition. 4to. 265x210mm. pp. iv, 764, [10, index]. Ten engraved plates (frontispiece portrait of the author and a further nine). The verso of the second leaf of preliminaries is numbered vi. Some foxing in places but otherwise, internally very good with the plates in excellent condition. Handsomely bound in slightly later red straight-grained morocco, upper and lower covers decorated with two double fillet borders in gilt enclosing a continuous "drawer-handle" design in blind and framing a continuous swag and drop border in blind. Spine with five double raised bands, decorated in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt to the second and fifth compartment. Edges of the boards decorated in gilt. Turn-ins decorated in gilt with a wavy dotted line and ears of wheat with a flower motif in the corners. All edges gilt. The binding is of a very high standard. It is unsigned but the tooling and overall design conforms to the work of the German emigré binders and we would tentatively attribute the binding to either Christian Kalthoeber or John Bohn and we would date it to the 1790s or the very early years of the 1800s. 
John Watson (1723-1783) was that perfect eighteenth-century combination of clergyman and antiquary. He was the curate of Halifax between 1750 and 1754 and retained links with the town throughout his life. Starting with Druidical remains and moving through Roman affairs, Watson brings the reader up to the eighteenth century. He covers the history of Halifax and provides details of the main buildings in the town as well as exploring fascinating byways such as "Remarks on the Dialect of Halifax","Vocabulary of Uncommon Words used in Halifax" and "A Catalogue of Plants Growing in the Parish of Halifax".

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