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Specializing in Rare and Antiquarian Books on the Occult and more.

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OBSERVATIONS ON POPULAR ANTIQUITIES: CHIEFLY ILLUSTRATING THE ORIGIN OF OUR VULGAR CUSTOMS, CEREMONIES AND SUPERSTITIONS (1813) by John Brand (2 Volumes)

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OBSERVATIONS ON POPULAR ANTIQUITIES: CHIEFLY ILLUSTRATING THE ORIGIN OF OUR VULGAR CUSTOMS, CEREMONIES AND SUPERSTITIONS (1813) by John Brand (2 Volumes)

325.00 425.00

BRAND, John (arranged and revised, with additions by Henry Ellis)

Observations on Popular Antiquities: Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of Our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions (2 Volumes)

London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; et al., 1813. First Ellis edition. 4to. 2 Volumes. Contemporary calf binding with blind and gold borders. Rebacked. Endpapers renewed. xxvi + 486, xi + 731pp. A heavy set of books.

Rubbing, edgewear, and scrapes to boards, some dark spots to rear panel of volume II. A few pages in volume II have marginal notes in pencil and ink, some of which was lost when the binder trimmed the edges. A very good set of this highly important work. 

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John Brand (1744–1806), secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, first published his widely popular Observations on Popular Antiquities in 1777. This fascinating two-volume almanac of British superstitions and customs was in fact a heavily revised and annotated version of Henry Bourne's Antiquitates vulgares, or Antiquities of the Common People (1725). Beginning with New Year's Eve, Volume 1 describes the origins and practices of British calendar festivals including religious holidays, saints' days, seasonal celebrations such as May Day and the Summer Solstice, and obscurer festivities such as the Feast of Sheep Shearing. There is also a wealth of information on witches and witchcraft, demonology and devils, and related folklore and superstitions. Following the success of the book's initial reception, Brand continued to research English folklore with the intention of publishing fuller information. This two-volume version, published posthumously in 1813, was edited and expanded by Sir Henry Ellis, Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, and further revisions also appeared in 1841 and 1870. Brand's book is regarded as the foundation for folklore studies in England.