Ancient Arms and Armour - Edwin J. Brett | Mandarin Mansion

Ancient Arms and Armour - Edwin J. Brett

A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Origin and Development of Arms and Armour.
To which are appended 133 plates specially draw from the author's collection at Oaklands, St. Peter's, Thanet and Burleigh House, London. By Edwin J. Brett.

London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company (limited), St Dunstan's House, Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C. 1894.

Massive, leather bound book. Elaborately decorated cover with arms and armor themed motiffs and the title embossed in gilt. 38 x 29 cm. Printed in red and black throughout. Marbled endpapers. Gilt edges.
The volume contains two parts, with over a 1000 engravings. First edition. Well preserved copy in the extremely rare original binding.

Edwin John Brett (1827-1895) started out as an apprentice watchmaker at age 14. At 16, he was engraving for Henry Vizitelly's Pictorial Times. He gained an editorship over Edward Harrison's English Girl's Journal and Ladies' Magazine with William Emmett in 1864. In 1866 Brett founded Boys of England, a weekly magazine with a blend of fact and thrilling fiction. He occupied himself with several charities, including helping street orphans climb the ladder to honest careers.

His financial success enabled him to develop his passion for antique arms and armor, acquiring over a thousand items over the course of some thirty years. After the death of his wife in 1883 he fully occupied himself with arms and armor, resulting in the work that is the subject of this article. The collection, which was said to be "one of the largest private collections of early arms and armour ever formed", was sold through Christie's in March 1895 for £30,000. Edwin J. Brett himself passed away in december 1885 at age 67.

Sold previously at Christies for $4461,-

Currently available at ABEbooks for $1607,-:

A copy was presented to Queen Victoria in January 1884 bij the author himself. It is still in the Royal collection:"

Available here for € 725,-.

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