London: Smith, Elder, 1868-69. First Edition, First Printing. Four Hardcovers Volumes in Slipcase.
Publisher's cloth gilt lettered on the spines, the first issue with volumes I & III numbered in Roman type and volumes II & IV in Arabic type on the spines, with matching cloth slipcase.
16mo; 6 3/4 x 4 inches; [iv], 245,  pp.; [iv], 251 pp.; [iv], 249 pp.; [iv], 235 pp. Tear to headcap and the hinges cracked in volume I, contemporary ownership signatures to endpapers dated 1869, the ad leaf creased, intermittent foxing, a sound set overall.
Very Good in a Very Good Slipcase. Item #16500
Browning's Masterpiece, a psychological Roman murder mystery from 1698, written in verse of 21,000 lines. The publication marked a turning point in his career.
R. L. Stevenson called it “one of the noblest books of the century”; and Howells referred to it as ‘one of the few great poems whose splendor can never suffer lasting eclipse.”
The book tells the story of a murder trial in Rome in 1698, of an impoverished nobleman, Count Guido Franceschini, who is found guilty of the murders of his young wife and her parents, because he suspected his wife was having an affair with a young cleric, he is found guilty despite his protests and sentenced to death, Guido then appeals unsuccessfully to Pope Innocent XII.
Ref Kuntz-Haycraft, 87; Watson, 443