1758. Birmingham: John Baskerville, 1758.
4to, , 78 pp. Original wrappers bound into quarter red calf, a bit worn, occasional spotting or discoloration. Front pastedown with bookplates of Ralph Straus and Robert Hartshorne.
§ First edition -- K2 is signed 2K and the “O” of Poems in title is inverted as usual; “Cambden” is thus misspelt on p. 32, and “had” is omitted from the last line on p. 51. One of Baskerville’s scarcest works, issued 1 June 1758 at 3s, approximately one year after his famous Virgil. “Though Avon garnered generally positive reviews from contemporary critics and portions of it were reprinted in the Gentleman’s Magazine and in Dodsley’s Annual Register that year, it gained equal, or perhaps greater, attention as an early specimen of John Baskerville’s typesetting. ‘Avon is nothing but a Type’, Thomas Gray remarked (letter to William Mason, 11 Aug 1758)” (DNB).
Ralph Straus was the primary contributor to the 1907 Cambridge University Press publication John Baskerville: A Memoir. Though listed as a co-author of this valuable reference (a good supplement to Pardoe and Gaskell), he “brought to the subject an intimate technical knowledge of the Baskerville types, enabling him to deduce new and interesting theories as to the extent to which these famous types were used; and by his independent researches he made good his claim to a share in the production of the ‘life’…[with] the lion’s share of the task falling upon [Straus]” (written by his co-author in the preface to the 1907 edition). Gaskell 3. Item #104972