BISSET, James. A Poetic Survey Round Birmingham; With A Brief Description of the Different Curiosities and Manufactories of the Place. Intended as a Guide to Strangers. Accompanied by a Magnificent Directory…


Birmingham: Printed for the author by Swinney and Hawkins, 1800.




£ 700



FIRST EDITION. Royal octavo (25.5 cm x 15 cm). vii, 62 pp. Frontis map in facsimile, detached. Title page; Address to the Reader and Index. In English verse. 27 engraved plates of Birmingham and its businesses in the manner of trade cards. Very slight browning and foxing; untrimmed. Bookplate on top pastedown. Quarter buckram over marbled covers; slightly rubbed; gilt title on red morocco label on spine. Very good condition.

This book, written in heroic verse, contains a fascinating snapshot of the business life of the newly industrialised Birmingham in 1800. The engraved plates are consisting of visual advertisements for subscribing local businesses, a poetic praise of Birmingham by Bisset and an index. The author, James Bisset (ca. 1762 – 1832) was a Scottish-born artist, manufacturer, writer, collector, art dealer and poet, who spent most of his life in and around Birmingham. In 1808 Bissett established Birmingham’s first museum and picture gallery, which was visited by famous figures of the time, such as the collector Sir William Hamilton and Horatio Nelson.


KESTC T143270; Goldsmiths’-Kress 17827; Johnson 96; Norton 716; Upcott 1271.