1816 MORT D'ARTHUR Malory

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8th edition;1st edition in this form


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Language by English


Written by  Sir Thomas Malory


Published by R. Wilks, 89 Chancery Lane, sold also by Simpkin & Marshall, Stationers Court Ludgate Hill, London, 1816



The Most Ancient And Famous History of The Renowned Prince Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table, in three volumes, by Sir Thomas Malory, published by R. Wilks, at 89 Chancery Lane. Sold also by Simpkin & Marshall, Stationers Court Ludgate Hill, London, 1816.

Malory's famous romantic masterpiece about  Prince Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Printed in 1816, this is the rare Wilks 8th edition, in 3 volumes complete. Representing the 8th printing of Sir Thomas Malory's timeless story, and the 1st edition in this three volume form, the Wilks edition is based on William Stansby's 1634 edition.

Le Mort d’Arthur is one of the most significant works of Arthurian literature. An important edition of Sir Thomas Malory's compilation of French and English Arthurian romances, the 1816 Wilks edition marks the start of modern interest in Arthuriana. Other than the edition published by Walker & Edwards in the same year, all earlier editions, besides the 1634 Stansby, are virtually unobtainable.

All title pages and title illustrations are present. Volume 3 still bound with original printed paper-covered boards. Volume 1 & 2 rebound in 1/2 leather marbled boards.Raised bands and gilt spine titling on both rebound volumes, and original paper spine titling of volume 3 still partly present. Publisher’s tan printed paper over boards, with the full title-page printed on the front boards within a decorative border, with the price ("Price 12s.") beneath the volume number. Avid fans read this publication voraciously when it was first released, making any copies of this edition with the original printed boards a truly rare find. 

Each volume is illustrated with a frontispiece and extra engraved title page. Volume 1 also has a folding frontispiece of King Arthur and his Knights at the Round Table, as also appeared in the Stansby edition. Folding frontispiece completely intact & securely attached, well-kept and, other than age yellowing, in good condition. Two title pages in each volume, the 1816 title page and 1634 title page; The engravings are impressive, depicting significant scenes from the story. All of the text is complete and firmly bound.


First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d'Arthur is the source for most subsequent Arthurian literature, including T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. The 1485 Caxton edition was followed by editions in 1498, 1529, 1557, 1585 and 1634. No further editions were printed until two competing editions were issued in 1816, of which this is one.

The first printing of Malory's work made by Caxton in 1485, proved popular and was reprinted, with some additions and changes, in 1498 and 1529 by Wynkyn de Worde who succeeded to Caxton’s press. Three more editions followed at intervals down to the time of the English Civil War: William Copland’s (1557), Thomas East’s (1585), and William Stansby’s (1634).

Thereafter the book went out of fashion until the time of the Romantic revival when interest in all things medieval flourished. As a result of this renewed interest, in 1816 both Walker & Edwards and Wilks printed new editions both based on the 1634 Stansby edition.


Fair condition; two of the volumes have been trimmed & rebound, the margins of volume 1 trimmed closer, the third is still bound with the original paper boards; scuffing and scrapes of boards and paper covers as well as rubbing of edges and bumped corners, gilt spine ornaments of rebound volumes still intact, gutter cracked & showing some separation of volume one front cover; text, title-engravings, & fold-out engraving are all present and in good condition; paper with minor age discoloration & occasional foxing, as well as some noticeable foxing to opening and closing few pages of volume 3; paper spine and title of volume 3 partly present & spine decorations of the rebound volumes with varying degrees of wear; overall, these books are delicate antiques.

BOOK MEASUREMENTS: (vol.1) 131 mm X 71 mm, (vol.2) 138 mm X 71 mm, (vol.3) 138 mm X 77 mm

 TOTAL LENGTH :  1091 pages; (vol.1) 326, (vol.2) 381, (vol.3) 384