An intriguing copy of a late edition of this French translation of The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), with 15 very striking watercolours, perhaps slightly later than the date of publication, bound in.more...
They are unsigned, but the frontispiece bears the initials ‘ENSO’. They are highly coloured, exotic and idiosyncratic. .see full details
First edition of this translation, copy number 15, one of 20 on japon with additional suites, signed by the publisher, of a total edition of 175 (ordinary copies were in smaller format).more...
Published for the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition in London. ‘Cette édition d’une ode de Keats est un hommage aux Lettres anglaises. Nous l’offrons au pays de Shakespeare à l’occasion de l’Exposition Franco-Britannique’..see full details
A very scarce account of the Earl of Eglinton’s famous folly, a tournament, banquet and ball in medieval style. Attended by a hundred thousand spectators it became a turning point in Victorian style, influencing applied arts and literature to a surprising degree.
‘The Eglinton Tournament of 1839, the outstanding example of early Victorian medievalism in action, secured his fame. Beginning as a private gesture, it so catered to public appetite for pageantry and heroism that it grew into a national event. In June 1838 the whig government had for reasons of economy omitted some traditional ceremonies from Queen Victoria's coronation. In Conservative reproof, Eglinton, enthusiastically urged on by friends and family, announced in August a medieval tournament and banquet at Eglinton Castle. He originally planned only an amusement for his race meeting in the spring of 1839, but the unexpected public response forced postponement for adequate organization and for rehearsal of unskilled knights. The number of these gradually fell from an initial 150 to thirteen, but on 28 August 100,000 spectators gathered, their presence at this medieval spectacle made possible by the prime symbols of Victorian mechanical progress, railways and passenger steamers. Unfortunately, the prevailing weather pattern of western Scotland held: torrential rain fell, and knights, ladies, and spectators fled the field. Eglinton's fortitude (or obstinacy) redeemed what might have been total fiasco—he hospitably detained his guests until the weather improved, and on 30 August successfully held his tournament, banquet, and ball. The costs were enormous, Eglinton's own expenditure probably approaching £40,000. But, although the tournament was ridiculed by some critics, its enactment of chivalric metaphor is now seen to have inspired Victorian imagination in art and literature, as well as public and private standards of behaviour’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
First edition in French in book form of The War of the Worlds (1898), translated by Henry Davray, very scarce.more...
The edition was limited to 500 copies, but this (not unusually) is unnumbered and unsigned. The novel had appeared in French in the Parisian journal Je sais tout, but not previously in book form. Brasilian artist Alvim-Correa died of tuberculosis in 1910..see full details
A quasi-anthropological account of flagellation around the world, typical of Charles Carrington’s surreptitious curiosa, save for the uncommonly delicate symbolist plates by Caruchet. The author ‘Jean de Villiot’ is almost certainly spurious and perhaps masks Carrington himself as the author.
Carrington published some 300 titles (some using his own name and others using false imprints) mainly in Paris where he lived from about 1894 until 1907, selling books from a shop in the Faubourg Montmartre. He notably printed a number of works by Oscar Wilde when few other publishers would risk implication in Wilde’s downfall and, besides outright pornography, he printed a number of editions of classical and oriental authors and important works on the psychology of sex. In 1907 he was deported from France for consistently publishing and selling literature ‘of a very obscene and vulgar character’. He continued his publishing business in Brussels before returning to Paris in 1912. By 1920 Carrington was blind from the effects of advanced syphilis, being admitted to the mental hospital at Ivry, south of Paris, where he died in 1921..see full details
Ave Maria, Roger Hilton, Richard of St Victor.more...
Each of the leaves has finely-illuminated initials with liquid gold. Made for a Mr Branagan, to whom the two autograph letters are addressed. Helen Reid Cross illustrated several children’s books but her best works are her superb illuminated manuscripts..see full details
A typical Victorian handwriting copybook, devoting a page to each letter of the alphabet, with a single sentence, phrase of word repeated over several lines, the text of varying size.more...
‘All thy commandments are righteousness’; ‘Be ye angry and sin not’; ‘Fulminate’; ‘Knowledge is Power’, ‘Mathematician’; ‘Obrometer’, ‘Vice is attended with sorrow’; ‘X begins no word in the English language’. The sequence is broken in two places, with 2 pages of elementary mathematical exercises, and the last page is signed ‘William Blundell June 29th 1868 in Sussex’..see full details
Two watercolour books kept by an English schoolboy, Henry Moore (born 1831), between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.more...
They are exceptional not for orthodox artistic merit, though they are fine (and sometimes compelling) examples of British naive art, but for their depiction of some of the minutiae of provincial domestic life. Henry was evidently an observant adolescent, who, in addition to making painstaking portraits of his family and views of his local surroundings, recorded such charming details as the pattern on the bedroom carpet at home, a flycatcher’s nest tucked into an iron gate-hinge and the elaborate icing on a traditional English ‘Twelfth Cake’.
A child of the English Midlands, Henry Moore was son of a canal agent at Stone in Staffordshire, a small town on the Trent and Mersey Canal, just South of Stoke on Trent and the Potteries. Many of the best images in his notebooks are of details of the Stone Navigation Office, suggesting the family lived on site, and he includes a fine study of the red brick and slate roofs of the rear of the office, and views of the cart shed, the cow house, the flower garden gate, the strong room, the check office, canal bridges, factory chimneys and a nearby windmill. There are also full- and double-page images of the town and its neighbouring buildings, among which the imposing red brick workhouse is outstanding. He also takes a boy’s interest in boats and trains, with two typical canal boats and a railway engine.
He makes portraits of his younger siblings, girls and boys in contemporary dress and takes pleasure in recording possessions at home: ‘mama’s opal bottle’, ‘mama’s bread-pan’, ‘mama’s great [Staffordshire] jug’, a piano, a Christmas plum pudding, candlesticks, brushes, a mother-of-pearl bookmark and several domestic fabric patterns. There are also records of trips further afield: with boats on the Severn and Mersey, the organ at Worcester, while an intriguing sequence shows domestic details of a particular house in Calthorpe Street, [Bloomsbury, London], with a parlour and bed, carefully depicted.
He was sent to boarding school at Bromsgrove, another canal town some 60 miles away in neighbouring Worcestershire, where he attended the Free School, then undergoing a tercentenary rejuvenation under pioneering schoolmaster John Day Collis (see Oxford DNB). Here, Moore made views of the new school buildings and of the church from the school playground. According to the school records he seems to have been a model student, winning a prize every year and earning a scholarship to Oxford, where he went up to Worcester College in 1849. He took both a BA and MA, became a fellow in the course of 15 years spent at Oxford. He apparently then became a cleric in London.
Moore also includes numerous imaginative scenes, usually rather more crudely drawn than those from life: many are of soldiers in uniform and several are of circus performers. He clearly had access to books too, and there are copies of scenes from Francis Edward Paget’s Hope of the Katzekopfs; Or, the Sorrows of Selfishness. A Fairy Tale (1846), Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Moule’s English Counties (1837), Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Hamlet, Shaw’s Travels (1746 and several later editions) and the ‘Panorama of the Battle of Sabraon’ (exhibited 1846, and perhaps seen either in the flesh or via published engravings). .see full details
One of the most popular eighteenth-century English books of poetry for children — more than a dozen editions over the next fifty years. Cotton, a physician by training (at Leiden, under Hermann Boerhaave) ran a private lunatic asylum in St. Albans and he is now best remembered for his kindness and care for Cowper during Cowper's first period of insanity.see full details
The celebrated life of a colourful swindler and impostor, first published in 1745 and reprinted numerous times.more...
This is one of two editions printed for Buckland, Bathurst and Davies in 1793. The final 5 pages contain a notable cant dictionary.
Carew fell in with a band of gypsies as a wayward young boy. “After a year and a half Carew returned home for a time, but soon after resumed a career of swindling and imposture, which saw him deceive people to whom he had previously been well known. Eventually he embarked for Newfoundland, but stayed only a short time. On his return to England he passed as the mate of a vessel, and eloped with the daughter of a respectable apothecary from Newcastle upon Tyne, whom he later married.
Carew soon returned to the nomadic life, and when Clause Patch, a Gypsy king or chief, died Carew was elected his successor. He was convicted of being an idle vagrant, and sentenced to be transported to Maryland. On his arrival he attempted to escape, but was captured and made to wear a heavy iron collar; he escaped again, and encountered some Native Americans, who removed his shackles. On departure he travelled to Pennsylvania. He was then said to have swum the Delaware River, after which he adopted the guise of a Quaker, and made his way to Philadelphia, then to New York, and finally to Boston, where he embarked for England. He escaped impressment on board a man-of-war by pricking his hands and face, and rubbing in bay salt and gunpowder, so as to simulate smallpox” (John Ashton, rev. Heather Shore in Oxford DNB).
This biography is variously attributed to Bampfylde Moore Carew himself, to Robert Goadby and also to his wife, Mrs. Goadby. .see full details
Second edition, a reissue of the 1799 edition with a new title.more...
Middleton’s designs include several cottages ornés, typical of the contemporary Picturesque movement, substantial villas, a public bath, a court house, an observatory, greenhouses, an aviary, a ‘gothick chapel’ and tea houses in the form of a Chinese temple and a Turkish temple. ‘…Middleton adopted a manner of illustration that was peculiarly his own. The designs are etched in a nervous line that obscures smaller details but delineates significant features of the building design and surrounding scenery, but also contributes an uncommon liveliness and animation to the illustration as a whole. The plates are further distinguished by bright, sometimes garish color in in ocher, salmon, pale green, bright green and bright blue tints.’ (Archer, Literature of British domestic Architecture 1715-1842, 1985, 206.4 (1799 edition with identical plates).
Middleton trained in architectural draughtsmanship under James Paine, gaining admission to the Royal Academy in 1779, before being employed by Henry Holland around 1783. He superintended Holland’s works at Carlton House..see full details
First edition in French of Dunallan; or, Know what you judge (1825); the last published (but first written) work of this once much-read Scottish novelist (1782-1825).more...
‘Grace Kennedy's novels (at least eight) were all published anonymously and rapidly in the early 1820s, and met with considerable success, being reissued late into the nineteenth century ...’ (Oxford DNB). .see full details
First edition, a rare and unusual children’s book, with fine engravings after the sixteenth-century drawings by Giuseppe Porta (known as ‘Salviati’).more...
‘Lewis developed into one of the most prolific, skilled, and versatile printmakers of his time. He was commissioned by William Young Otley to reproduce master drawings for the three-volume work The Italian School of Design, published between 1808 and 1823, and he engraved after works by such prominent contemporary artists as Sir Thomas Lawrence, Thomas Girtin, Franz Winterhalter, Sir Edwin Landseer, Richard Bonington, and J. M. W. Turner’ (Oxford DNB)
The subscribers list includes Francis Douce, William Young Ottley, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Samuel Rogers and Dawson Turner. The book was issued in two forms: on large paper with the illustrations as plates on India paper, and, as here, in chapbook form with illustrations and text combined. Both are are..see full details
First edition, Roscoe’s second issue, Fleeman’s fourth state.more...
First published in December 1764 Goldsmith’s philosophical poem is the first of his works to bear his name on the title-page. Taking its cue from from the French philosophes the poem is recounted by a lonely wanderer observing the character of the inhabitants of the nations, noting the effects of climate and the deleterious influence of wealth and luxury.
‘Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails, / And honor sinks where commerce long prevails’.
Samuel Johnson contributed lines 420 and 429-38 (and reviewed the work for the Critical Review, Dec. 1764). Goldsmith made numerous early revisions and this copy is an example of the fourth state (Fleeman)..see full details
An abridgement for children of Milton’s account of Adam and Eve, by the celebrated actress Sarah Siddons (1755-1831). Siddons’ admiration for Milton was lifelong: ‘By the age of ten she was already responsive to the poetry of Milton … Perhaps his curious combination of sensuality and austerity gave particular satisfaction to this girl who, as a woman said that she feared to play Shakespeare’s Cleopatra as she should be played’. After her official retirement in 1813, Siddons gave frequent dramatic readings of Milton and Shakespeare – as represented by Lawrence’s portrait of her with works by both authors –and Paradise Lost was her preferred text. Manvell suggests that Milton’s ‘strong dramatic sense and the grandeur of his rhetoric must have excited her’, but Siddons also saw the merits of his material for a juvenile audience. As she describes in the Preface to the present work, she completed her abridgements for the use of her own children that they might develop ‘an early admiration’ of Milton, and now chooses to issue them for public consumption. The work provoked particular invective from the London Magazine, which acknowledged Siddons’ greatness but was aggravated by her Miltonian foray: ‘could she really condescend to become an authoress on the strength of an eighteen-penny copy of paradise lost and a pair of scissors?’ The reviewer accuses John Murray of being blinded by Siddons’ fame in his agreement to publish the work. The Story of our first Parents was issued in the same year under the separate title, Abridgement of Paradise Lost, which is identical in every other respect. Perhaps the variants were intended to appeal to separate adult and juvenile audiences..see full details
A fable in verse by the abolitionist, poet, translator—and creator of landscapes in feathers—Susanna Watts (1768-1842). Watts urges readers not to be misled by the diminutive size of her insect protagonists: ‘The following little fable is not presented to the Public as a mere bagatelle of amusement suggested by the fashionable popularity of Entomology, but under a serious, anxious, and most sincere desire to inculcate respect and tenderness towards all the inferior creatures’. Indeed, animal cruelty was a particular bête noir of Watts, as was slavery, and she published widely on these topics, producing an anti-slavery periodical entitled The Humming Bird (twelve numbers, 1824–5). The Insects in Council encompasses both issues, as when Dragonfly implores his friend the Emmet: ‘Come, free all your slaves, and deserve our / Applause, / And nobly unite in our patriot cause!’. After Watts’ death, the discovery of her scrapbook revealed a remarkable breadth of interests, with entries of poems, mementoes, statistics, portraits (many of women writers), and data on Hindu and Arabic languages, as well as detailed diagrams of the hold of a slave ship. The extraordinary landscapes which she crafted from feathers won a medal from the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (ODNB). .see full details
First edition, extremely scarce, of this dramatic allegory of Anglo-Irish relations.more...
Trotter’s is a grown-up fairy tale, a masque-like play in which the dramatis personae are given both dramatic and Spenserian allegorical names. The Queen becomes England, Judith is Ireland and the eponymous Cindabright is also the Irish Patriot. A lengthy note explains that Judith’s dialogue references ‘the past state of a country abandoned to all the disadvantages of exclusion from a share in the social and political happiness and prosperity’. Trotter uses to explore a Spenserian world in which Ireland has recourse to question its historical treatment by the English. Trotter believes in the merit of fairies, which here represent Sentiment; she likes ‘their mystified nothings, through which we may detect beautiful wit at times’. In a common refrain over the loss of innocence, Trotter prefixes Cindabright by wondering, ‘Have the wonderful discoveries of modern science put to flight our pleasant fairies, with all their train of fancy play?’ Ultimately, Trotter need not have worried that ‘giant steam, with his real wonders’ would overpowered the products of make believe, for alongside the industrial revolution developed the peculiar Victorian preoccupation with fairies, most obviously articulated in era’s relative profusion of fairy paintings and stories. Seldom however are these corralled into patriotic invective, as here..see full details
A provincially-printed volume by botany teacher and Quaker Sarah Hoare. Hoare’s poem first appeared as an addendum to Priscilla Wakefield’s Introduction to Botany (1818), but is here accompanied by sundry other poems and an introduction. In this, which is addressed to her pupils, Hoare emphasises her indebtedness to Wakefield’s work—‘it was the first book of the kind I had read on the subject’—and explains that a change in her financial circumstances has necessitated her publication of the present work. Hoare taught the daughters of Quakers in Ireland for many years before returning to Bristol where she continued the work. For her, ‘botany was connected with the ideas of personal and social usefulness’ and the work takes on a maternal tone, with the medicinal properties of plants emphasised that they might be of use to those students of hers who have had children of their own. As Sam George has recognised, Hoare’s poem ‘posits a trustworthy science reliant on Quakerly practices of proof and honesty’. COPAC lists just four copies in the UK, at the British Library, Durham, Society of Friends and St. Andrews, to which WorldCat adds Haverford College, Miami, Stanford, UCLA, and Yale, in the US. .see full details