London: Printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, for J. White, at Horace's Head, Fleet-Street, 1803. Second and best edition. Dibdin writes in the Bibliographical Decameron that “I know not why I should touch upon such a subject [of beautiful writing], as Astle has written a vastly pretty book upon it.” As of its release, Horne in his Introduction to the Study of Bibliography, wrote that it was “the completest work on the subject of writing, extant in this or any other language.” With 32 plates containing examples of a variety of scripts and alphabets, including Ogham, Celtic, and Saxon, among others. Notably, Astle also argues that printing likely originated in China.
4to. , xxiv, 240, frontispiece and 32 plates (including 9 folding and 9 hand-colored), errata slip. Bigmore & Wyman I, pg. 20. Bonser 7291 (claiming this work was the earliest to deal with Irish script and illumination). About very good in later half leather over marbled boards, top edge gilt, with some plates toned and foxed, bookplate to pastedown and worn label to spine, leather rubbed and corners bumped. Item #261