This is the first collected edition of DGR's works edited by his brother WMR. The two
volumes went through a series of reissues into the early 1890s and they spawned as well
a number of more specialized editions of the poetry. Volume 1 contains DGR's original poetry and major prose, Volume 2 contains the Early Italian Poets material in the Dante and his Circle format, plus DGR's other translations and a section of further prose material.
The handsome cover designs were created
as an allusion and homage to DGR's famous designs for his own volumes of 1870 and 1881. As with
those three volumes, this edition was also issued in a large paper format on handmade paper, twenty-five copies being printed off for private circulation. All of these large paper volumes (1870, 1881, 1886) are identical in book design: japon backed blue boards with white paper label on the spine. In the case of this 1886 edition, the two trade volumes are issued in four volumes large 8vo.
A few large paper copies were printed. Walter Pater's copy of the edition, which passed to John Sparrow, has an errata slip for volume 1 with five textual corrections (Sparrow 48, Brasenose College). Two of the corrections apply lines in the verse epistle “Boulogne to Amiens and Paris”, the other three correct the numbering that WMR gave on page 518 to the 1881 version of the “House of Life” sonnets.