Chambers's CYCLOPAEDIA - 1741 (fifth edition)
and 1753 Supplement (first edition)
Chambers's Cyclopaedia and Supplement

Chambers's Cyclopaedia and Supplement titles

1741 5th edition Frontispiece

1741 5th edition Frontispiece detail

Frontispiece detail - G Child Sculp
Chambers's Cyclopaedia and Supplement


Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences containing an explication of the terms, and an account of the things signified thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical; and the several sciences, human and divine...

The fifth edition. London. Printed for W. Innys.1741. Four folio volumes (including the two supplements which are the same size as the initial two volumes: 15 3/4 x 9 7/8 inches; 400 x 253 mm.). Unpaginated (each volume about 2 1/2 inches thick). First two volumes contain twenty-one engraved plates (of which ten are fold-out). Second volume of the supplement with a group of twelve folding plates at the rear, all of which concern natural history (with multiple images on each sheet; e.g. mammals). Included is the famous folding type-specimen broadside from William Caslon. Contemporary speckled calf, expertly rebacked to style, spine compartments with gilt rules and central gilt devices, original black and red morocco gilt spine labels. Short marginal tear to title page of Vol. I. Lord Bamff's copy with his etched armorial bookplates. Overall, an excellent copy. "Ephraim Chambers was born in the Lake District about 1680 and was trained as a map-maker. Inspired by the example of John Harris's Lexicon technicum, he set out to compile a more comprehensive work. Though to Harris must go the honours of compiling the first true English encyclopedia, Chambers is clearly the father of the modern encyclopedia throughout the world. Chambers's Cyclopaedia is particularly remarkable for its elaborate system of cross-references, and for the broadening of Harris's coverage to include more of the humanities. The influence of Chambers's encyclopedia has been incalculable: Diderot's Encyclopedie would undoubtedly have taken a very different shape had it not been for Chambers's example. Abraham Ree's own encyclopedia was modeled on Chambers's. The publication of the Encyclopedia Britannica was stimulated by the appearance of the Encyclopedie. and almost every subsequent move in the world of encyclopedia-making is thus directly traceable to the pioneer example of Chambers's work" (Collison, pp. 103-04).

Price: USD$4,000.

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see Chambers's CYCLOPAEDIAS see CYCLOPAEDIA Plates