MAVOR, William Fordyce. ~ Poems. Descriptive, Elegies, Epistles, Odes, Sylva, or Miscellanies, Songs, and Sonnets. by William Mavor, LL.D. London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson... 1793.
8vo (210 × 130 mm), pp. xii, 346,  (adverts). Contemporary green straight grained morocco, sides with greek key and floral borders, panelled spine with lyre and sunburst tools, lettered direct, all edges gilt WITH A FINE FORE-EDGE PAINTING DEPICTING THE BRIDGE AND PARISH CHURCH AT HENLEY ON THAMES; contemporary engraved bookplate of Lord F. A. Spencer (Francis Almeric Spencer, 1779-1845) later green morocco label of Estelle Doheny (Doheny sale V, lot 1949).
First edition of a rare collection, a superb copy, almost certainly a presentation copy to one of Mavor’s pupils, Francis Almeric Spencer, youngest son of George Spencer, fourth Duke of Marlborough.
Scots-born Mavor’s successful career was largely due to the patronage of the Marlborough familly. He was born at New Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1758 and received his early education is Scotland, before setting out to make his fortune in England at the age of seventeen. He began publishing poetry quite soon and made important contacts at Oxford which, in turn, brought him to Woodstock where he became rector, mayor and master of his own school, Woodstock Academy, founded in 1782. He taught the children of the Duke of Marlborough for many years.
Poems is Mavor’s only substantial collection (and it includes several works previously published separately). Dedicated to Caroline, Duchess of Marlborough in June 1793, it contains several occasional poems reflecting life at Bleinheim (including one recording a royal visit and another on the launching of a pleasure boat upon the lake) and several addressed to members of the Marlborough family, including the current Duke, George Spencer, fourth Duke of Marlborough (1739-1817), the Duchess of Marlborough and Lady Anne and Lady Elizabeth. This copy contains the bookplate of the youngest son and was presumably given to him by the author.
Besides this work, Mavor published several guides (including one each to Cheltenham and Blenheim) and educational works covering history, language and natural history. He also developed a successful system of stenography. Aubin, p. 327; Jackson p. 185. ESTC: BL, Bodley (2), NLS, San Diego State University Library, Harvard and University of Otago.