An Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste, by Richard Payne Knight. First edition, 8vo, 21cm, pp.xxi, errata, 471, London: Printed by T. Payne, Mews Gate, and J. White, Fleet Street, 1805.
Newly and finely bound in quarter morocco, spine gilt, with marbled paper-covered sides, by The Wyvern Bindery. Lacking half-title. Presentation inscription from the author to Charles Burney, London, 1805.
Classical scholar, art collector and connoisseur, Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824), took a keen interest in aesthetics and was a key figure in the debate on the picturesque. Of independent means, he journeyed across Europe, frequently in the company of artists. His home, Downton Castle, in Herefordshire, set the fashion for crenellations. He sat in parliament from 1780 to 1806 but beauty interested him more than politics. Following important works on aethetics by such writers as Edmund Burke and Uvedale Price, Knight published this, his most successful work, in 1805, cementing his reputation as an authority on matters of taste. Here he moves away from the ideas of Price and Burke, instead exploring the role of associations in the expression of aesthetic judgement.
Charles Burney (1726-1814), was an English music historian, composer and musician. He was the father of the writers Frances Burney and Sarah Burney, the explorer James Burney, and Charles Burney, classicist and book donor to the British Museum. He was likewise a friend of Edmund Burke. His most famous work 'The History of Music' appeared in four volumes, 1776-1789. Burney's library was sold at auction by John White of Westminster at a sale commencing 8 August, 1814.