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PLAYFAIR, William.

British Family Antiquity, Illustrative of the Origin and Progress of the Rank,

honours and personal merit of the nobility of the United Kingdom. Accompanied with an Elegant Set of Chronological Charts.

Stock Code
London, T. Reynolds and H. Grace, 1809

an important work on genealogy published in a very limited edition.

William Playfair (1759-1823) was a Scottish engineer, political economist and British spy who organised a clandestine counterfeiting operation in 1793 to collapse the French currency. He was also the first to use coloured graphs to portray statistics and invented several types of diagrams including the bar charts we see here.

Playfair had been working in France during the time of the French Revolution and it was his utter abhorrence of that event which was the well spring from which this present work came forth. In it Playfair seeks to show the true character and heroism of the British nobility and that the Monarchy, particularly the British Monarchy, is the true defender of liberty. The volumes are separated into the peerage and baronetage of England, Scotland and Ireland.



First edition; 9 vols in 11 parts, 4to; emblematic frontispiece in volume six, suite of 12 plates of which 10 are in two states, coloured and uncoloured, in volume 6, 9 large folding tables partly hand coloured, all edges gilt, occasional foxing, one or two minor or marginal tears or marks; handsome contemporary red straight grain-morocco with elaborate gilt borders, spines faded, some minor bumps and stains to covers, spines gilt in compartments, a very good set.


Stock ID:102499

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