Owned by the Earl of Portsmouth, Two Large and Beautiful Volumes,The History of the Life of King Henry IInd.
And of the age in which he lived, in five books,: to which is prefixed, a history of the revolutions of England from the death of Edward the Confessor to the birth of Henry the Second / by George Lord Lyttelton Printed for W. Sandby and J. Dodsley, 1767 [second printing] 2 impressive and original leather bound volumes, from the personal library of the Earl of Portsmouth. Three books of the set are contained in these two, beautiful, large volumes. George Lyttelton, studied at Eton (1725) and Oxford (1726) before touring the Continent (1728-31) before becoming intimate with Pope's circle at Twickenham. He was secretary to the Prince of Wales (1732-44), member of Parliament from Okehampton (1735-56); succeeded as 5th baron Lyttleton 1751, and was lord of the treasury (1744-54) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1755-56). As an opposition politician, Lyttleton was allied to the Prince of Wales; as a poet he was associated with his near-neighbor at Hagley Park, William Shenstone.
His life was detailed by Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets series, published in 3 volumes between 1779 and 1781. In it Dr Johnson states 'His last literary production was his "History of Henry the Second," elaborated by the searches and deliberations of twenty years, and published with such anxiety as only vanity can dictate. The story of this publication is remarkable. The whole work was printed twice over, a great part of it three times, and many sheets four or five times. The booksellers paid for the first impression; but the changes and repeated operations of the press were at the expense of the author, whose ambitious accuracy is known to have cost him at least a thousand pounds. He began to print in 1755. Three volumes appeared in 1764, a second edition of them in 1767, a third edition in 1768, and the conclusion in 1771.
Andrew Reid, a man not without considerable abilities and not unacquainted with letters or with life, undertook to persuade Lyttelton, as he had persuaded himself, that he was master of the secret of punctuation; and, as fear begets credulity, he was employed, I know not at what price, to point the pages of "Henry the Second." The book was at last pointed and printed, and sent into the world. Lyttelton took money for his copy, of which, when he had paid the pointer, he probably gave the rest away; for he was very liberal to the indigent. When time brought the History to a third edition, Reid was either dead or discarded; and the superintendence of typography and punctuation was committed to a man originally a comb-maker, but then known by the style of Doctor. Something uncommon was probably expected, and something uncommon was at last done; for to the Doctor's edition is appended, what the world had hardly seen before, a list of errors in nineteen pages. Each volume is 11.5 inches x 9.25 inches x 2 inches