NP [ England ]: The Hell Fire Club, ND. Deluxe Limited Edition. Hardcover. Small folio in clothbound slipase. 254pp. Bound in full black leather with elaborate gilt device to upper board, gilt lettering to spine, maroon gilt embossed silk endpapers backed with complimentary marbled paper, marbled page edges, well illustrated in b&w and duo-tone. Deluxe (and only) "Hell Fire Club edition" limited to 22 hand-numbered large-format copies, with printed limitation statement affixed to the first blank leaf: "Libertati Amicitiae Que Sacra, Issued by the Priory of St. Francis of Wycombe. This edition of The Notorious Essay on Women from the Hell Fire Club 1763".
Described by "The Hell Fire Club" as "The lure of devil worship, debauchery, blasphemy and pornography… originally dedicated both to a prostitute and to an Archbishop with an insulting inscription (obliquely referring to Jesus Christ) below an erect phallus, the ‘Essay on Woman’ was both an erotic satire and a political attack on hypocrisy written at a time when such publications (however few) would ensure arrest and possibly execution. ... Composed from ten chapters which detail the notorious Hell Fire Club its membership and influence in the day, drawn from an immense number of original letters, pamphlets, drawings and private memoirs plus the only surviving fragments of the obscene and pornographic poem ‘The Essay on Woman’ composed by members of the Hell Fire Club and privately printed by them in 1763 in an edition of only 12 copies ... A superbly detailed and profusely illustrated account of the scandal that exposed the Hell Fire Club, its founder Sir Francis Dashwood and its members both in Parliament and at the Royal Court. Drawing deeply upon the political and satiric literature of the time, reproducing dozens of rare illustrations from contemporary pamphlets and handwritten sources this is the full and final account of that most damnable and disgraceful piece of literature ‘The Essay on Woman’." The sheets that comprise the book are actually those of Adrian Hamilton's study "The Infamous Essay on Woman, or John Wilkes seated between Vice and Virtue" published by Andre Deutsch in 1972. A lovely copy. Maroon silk bound slipcase just very lightly rubbed, thus in near Fine condition. Item #64329