History of the life of Peter I. Emperor of Russia.


History of the life of Peter I. Emperor of Russia.

London: J. Read, 1739.

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Beautiful wide-margined copy.

Writer John Mottley (1692–1750) was born in London to a distinguished line of intellectuals, among whom William Guise, scholar at All Souls College in Oxford. The family staunchly supported the Commonwealth and later William III. Colonel Thomas Mottley, the writer's father, was instead an exiled supporter of James II. He entered the service of Louis XIV while in exile and was killed in 1706 in the battle of Turin.

Perhaps due to a sense of social stigma or fear of the bailiff, nearly all his writings were published anonymously or pseudonymously. In 1734, as Robert Seymour, Mottley (perhaps assisted again by Cooke) re-edited Stow's Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster. In 1739, as Elijah Jenkins, he re-edited the contents of several recent jestbooks into the best-selling classic of the genre, Joe Miller's Jests, or, The Wit's Vade Mecum.

Having reached fame with dramatic and comic writings, Mottley also wrote two historical works in the final years of his life. On of these is the present work, the History of the Life of Peter I, Emperor of Russia (1739), and History of the Life and Reign of the Empress Catharine (1744), openly 'by John Mottley, Esq'.


3 volumes (22,8 x 14,7 cm). 8vo, frontispiece, x, [22], 350 pp, with 2 folding maps and 2 folding plates, index; frontispiece, title, [6], 354 pp, index; title, [6], 409 pp. with 1 folding map and 7 plates, 5 of them folding, index; Contemporary calf gilt, spines with raised bands, red morocco lettering piece, light wear, an excellent set.

Provenance: W. G. Grove (signature to titles).



Stock ID: 85849