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Æsop's Fables, With His Life: In English, French, And Latin. Newly Translated. Illustrated with One Hundred and twelve Sculptures. To the Edition are likewise Added, Thirty One New Figures Representing his Life. By Francis Barlow.


RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Fables., English, French and Latin., 1703.]


London:: Printed by R. Newcomb, for Francis Barlow, and are to be sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster., 1703.

Physical Description

[6], 40, 40, 17, 2-221, [3] p., add. t.-pl., frontis., engr. dedic., 31 pl.: [110] illus.; 303 mm. (Folio).


[T.p., engr. dedic., dedic.] - To The Reader - [Frontis.] - A Brief Prospect of the Life of Æsop [with 31 pl.] - La Vie D'Esope Phrygien. Tirée du Grec de Planudes, sur-nommé le Grand - Æsopi Philosophice Fabulantis, Vita - [Text, of 110 Fables, in English, Latin and French, with [110] illus.] - La Table - The Table.

Responsibility Note

The verse translation of the Fables was by Mrs. Aphra Behn. The engraved dedication and the frontispiece are unsigned. Of the 31 nummbered plates illustrating Planudes's Life of Aesop eighteen are signed as made by Thomas Dudley (or 'T.D.') (nos. 4-6, 8, 9, 11-15, 17-20, 23, 27, 28, 30) (pl. 15 is signed, 'Thomas dudley fecit 1679 quondam condicipulus W. Hollar', i.e. one-time fellow-pupil with W. Hollar); the rest are unsigned. The 110 in-text illustrations of the Fables are unsigned. The dedication was from Francis Barlow to William, Earl of Devonshire.


ESTC, T87018
A. Griffiths and R.A. Gerard, The print in Stuart Britain 1603-1689 (1998).
E. Hodnett, Aesop in England The Transmission of Motifs in Seventeenth-Century Illustrations (1979).
P. Hofer, 'Francis Barlow's Aesop', in Harvard Library bulletin, 2 (1948), p.279-95.

Summary Note

The publication-date of 1678 is carried by plates 8, 18, and that of 1679 by plate 15. This is a re-issue of the second edition of Aesop's Fables illustrated by Francis Barlow, which was published in 1687. That edition differed from the first (1666) in that, as well as having 'One Hundred and twelve Sculptures' for the Fables, it had 31 new plates for the translation of Planudes's Life of Aesop (present in the first edition but without plates), a new English (verse) summary of the Fables and a new dedication. These illustrations of Aesop follow a tradition of realistic depiction of animals already established by draughtsmen working in Britain - such as Marcus Gheeraerts the elder, Francis Cleyn and Wenceslas Hollar. In turn Barlow's designs had a wide and long influence on European illustrators - as may be seen in such publications as E. Roger's Fables (Amsterdam 1704), S. Croxall's Fables (London 1722), Thomas Bewick's Select fables (1784) and Aesop's fables (1818), J. Stockdale's Aesop (1793), La Fontaine's Recueil de fables (Paris 1799) and the Hundert Fabeln nach Aesop (Berlin 1830). Most of Barlow's drawings for the Life and the Fables are in the British Museum.


A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International).


Bought from 'Bower' for £1 11s. 6d. in the third quarter of 1772 (RAA Cashbook, October 1772).

Copy Note

In this copy the etching illustrating Fable I has been excised and a version signed as drawn by F. Barlow and engraved by Jas. Kirk has been inserted in its place. This copy also lacks the added engraved title-plate.

Binding Note

18th-century blind-panelled calf; rebacked in 1989, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Æsop's Fables'.

Name as Subject


Animals - Animals in art - History
Fables, Greek - Translations from Greek - Translations into English - Translations into French - Translations into Latin - Great Britain - 17th century
Pictorial works - Illustrated books, British - Great Britain - 17th century - 18th century


Francis Barlow, illustrator, draughtsman, engraver, publisher
Thomas Dudley, engraver
Maximus Planudes, Life of Aesop
Aphra Behn
Richard Newcomb, printer
William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire, dedicatee
James Kirk, engraver

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