Seward’s ‘budding talent was recognized at the poetical amusements organized by Lady Anna Miller at her Batheaston villa from 1775 to 1781. In Poem to the Memory of Lady Miller (1782) Seward expresses her gratitude for Miller’s “gentle ordeal” by which verses were put into an Etruscan vase, and then read aloud by a gentleman to the gathering at Batheaston. The best verses, including some of Seward’s earliest publications, were chosen as prize poems and collected in Batheaston’s annual volume of poetry’ (Oxford DNB)..see full details
An elegant anonymous satire on fashionable dress for women, directed especially against the painful pursuit of an artificial figure: ‘Come here, you two girls, that look full in my face, / And you that so often are turning your back [the Graces], / Put on these cork rumps, and then tighten your stays / ‘Till your hips, and your ribs, and the strings themselves crack. / Can ye speak? can ye breathe? - Not a word - Then ‘twill do. / You have often dress’d me, and for once I’ll dress you.’.see full details
A rare auction catalogue of the celebrated collection of Lady Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Germain, who was among the most notable collectors of the eighteenth century.more...
Besides the 75 lots of pictures (including works by Durer, Hilliard, Holbein, Da Vinci, Rapahel and Titian) is found ‘The DAGGER of HENRY VIIIth, designed by HOLBEIN, and most richly and magnificently ornamented with diamonds and rubies’, to which an early annotator has added in the margin ‘[Bo]ught for 50 Guineas for Mr Horace Walpole.’ The dagger was indeed Walpole’s and was kept by him in the Tribune at Strawberry Hill. Its current whereabouts is unknown. Walpole, who was fascinated by Germain as a collector acquired other items included in the sale, including Hilliard miniatures (one of the Earl of Essex now in the Yale Center for British Art) and a Holbein portrait of Louis XII of France. ESTC lists extant copies of the catalogue at only Cambridge, King’s College London, the Ashmolean and Getty, the BL copy having been destroyed in the Blitz. The manuscript notes added to an added blank leaf are by the later owner of the volume, Alfred Waterman of Bristol, and include a further anecdote of the sale, apparently drawn from one of Walpole’s letters, concerning John Dee’s obsidian scrying stone which was recognised as such by Walpole before the sale and given to him (it does not appear in the catalogue).
[the catalogue is bound last in a contemporary verse miscellany:]
GRAY, Thomas. Ode performed in the Senate-House at Cambridge, July 1, 1769, at the Installation of His Grace Augustus-Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton, Chancellor of the University. Set to Music by Dr. Randal, Professor of Music. Cambridge: Printed by J. Archdeacon Printer to the University, 1769. pp. 8. First edition. Northup 1401; Rothschild 1074.
[and:] CARLISLE, Frederick Howard, fifth Earl of ?]. An Irregular Ode, occasioned by the Death of Mr. Gray... London: Printed for Benjamin White... 1772. pp. 14, , complete with advertisement; edges uncut. First edition. Jackson, p. 14; Northup 1546; Rothschild 568;
[and:] GOLDSMITH, Oliver. The Deserted Village, a Poem... The Sixth Edition. London: Printed for W. Griffin, at Garrick’s Head... 1770. pp. vii, , 23; additional later blank leaf inserted before title with manuscript notes by Alfred Waterman. Jackson, p. 2;
[and:] CARTWRIGHT, Edmund. Armine and Elvira, a Legendary Tale. In Two Parts... the Third Edition. Oxford: Printed for J. Murray... London, 1772. pp. 38, , complete with final blank leaf. Jackson, p. 12;
[and:] PERCY, Thomas. The Hermit of Warkworth. A Northumberland Ballad. In Three Fits or Cantos. London: Printed for T. Davies, and S. Leacroft, successor to C. Marsh. 1771. pp. vii, , 52; dampstained towards the end.
6 works bound in one, 4to (c. 250 × 195 mm), contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards; quite worn, but sound; contemporary bookplate of Josias Cockshutt, and his inscriptions (first as Josias Cockshutt, then with the additional surname Twiselton); later inscription and notes of Alfred J. Waterman, Redland, Bristol..see full details
A delightful, if obscure, ornithological satire, presumably disguising a literary or academic controversy as yet unidentified. With a supporting cast of bat, owl, hawk, rook and crow, the poem centres on whether a particular bird is rock-dove or jay:
‘This is no Jay, no carrion bird: Such meekness, softness, sweetness, cadence! Such graceful gesture, tone and gradance! For Postulatum, Theme, or Theorem, I never knew a Dove come near him’. .see full details
First edition, with author’s inscription to sculptor August Moreau.more...
An early collection by the French satirical poet, Tailhade who wrote with an anarchistic and anticlerical attitude. De Banville opens his preface: ‘Voici, lecteur, un des plus beaux et des plus curieux livres de poèmes qui aient été écrits depuis longtemps, un livre qui s’impose à ton attention, car il est bien de ce temps, de cette heure même...’.see full details
One of 650 copies on simili-Hollande (Total edition 695). A collection of five poems by Moréas, a Greek-born French writer, who first began writing in a Symbolist style, (publishing a Symbolist manifesto in 1886 and contributing to Le Chat Noir circle); his work was rooted in decadent aesthetics. From 1891 his work changed drastically, he concentrated instead on poetry with a classical style. Ériphyle is one of the first examples of this new style..see full details
First edition, rare, dedicated to René Ghil.more...
The first collection (and one of the most popular works) by American Symbolist poet Merrill, who wrote mainly in French and who had studied under Mallarmé (to whom the first poem here, ‘La Flûte’, is dedicated). Les Gammes received wide critical acclaim throughout Europe and was the work that launched his literary career..see full details
One of à petit nombre sur vergé blanc de Hollande. A translation of Milton’s sonnets L’Allegro, Il Penseroso and Lycidas, by Henry a French poet and translator, with an introduction by the English poet and author Gosse who lectured in English literature at Cambridge..see full details
Seven poems by the Symbolist poet, novelist and journalist Devoluy, his first published collection. Before his writing career the author was an engineer, but from 1888 he became associated with the Félibrige (a society promoting language and culture) alongside René Ghil. Devoluy was very interested in the study of language and history, becoming an important theorist of the Occitan language..see full details
First edition, one of 150 copies on Hollande (there were also 12 on Chine).more...
A very scarce posthumous collection of Gautier’s risqué and political poetry not included in previous collections issued during his lifetime (he died in 1872). It includes the erotically-charged Musée secret, verses inspired by the voluptuous sculpture of Titian. The portrait, printed on chine, is an etched version of the famous lithograph by Benjamin Roubaud made in 1838 for the Panthéon charivarique..see full details
A collection of charming illustrations by Bianco (1906-1994) an English-born American child prodigy who came to light in the 1910s. In 1919, at the age of thirteen she exhibited work at a children’s show in Turin, then in London and New York. She later illustrated a children’s edition of Blake’s, Songs of Innocence in 1928 and her work appears in many American galleries and museums, including MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The accompanying verses are by René Chalupt..see full details
A superb decorated art nouveau manuscript, copied and entirely illuminated by a M.more...
Jullien with geometric designs inspired by Renaissance and Islamic tiles, entirely in keeping with the Orientalist symbolism of the 56 poems by Henri de Régnier (1864-1936), one of the most significant French Symbolist poets. The binding is decorated by Jullien in pyrography in a complementary style.see full details
‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’ A number of imitations and replies were elicited. It is early work by Perry (formerly ‘Pirie’, 1756–1821), a Scottish journalist recently arrived in London ‘to try to break into the literary world’ (Oxford DNB). By the end of his career he had become ‘one of the most notable journalists of the age when the newspaper press was becoming established as a force in the country’ (ibid.)
Studies of Gymnotus electricus by members of Royal Society and their correspondents had captured the imagination of the British public in unexpected ways. While the investigations of Walsh and Hunter made genuine discoveries into the nature of electricity (which culminated in the invention of Volta’s battery), contemporary wits and pamphleteers took advantage of the phallic connotations of the eel and its electrical properties to deride the sexual peregrinations of London society.
In this copy several of the printed lacunae have been filled in by a contemporary hand, identifying Lady Sarah Bunbury and Lady Grafton, among others, as devotees of the electrical eel..see full details
First edition, one of 170 copies, this one inscribed to poet Albert Saint-Paul.more...
A collection of verses and Retté’s first published work. He was an interesting figure, beginning his literary career writing in a Symbolist style and participating in the decadent movement. His legendary Thulé de Brumes (1892) was a recollection of a hallucination he experienced under the influence of drugs. However from the early 1900’s he converted to Catholicism and renounced his previous works, dedicating himself to writing religiously: he published Diable à Dieu (1907), a book relaying the experience of his conversion. .see full details
The first published essay by Montesquiou-Fezensac which studies the poetry of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, (1786-1859) one of the founders of French romantic poetry: her melancholy work admired for its grace and profound emotion. Montesquiou, celebrated aesthete, art collector and Symbolist poet is generally considered the inspiration for Jean des Esseintes in Huysmanns À Rebours..see full details
A French translation of Coleridge’s ‘Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’ by Larbaud a poet and translator who spoke six languages, including English, Italian and Spanish. He translated and helped popularise works by many of the most significant writers in English, including Walt Whitman, Samuel Butler, James Joyce and, of course, Coleridge..see full details
Ancient French extracts of the life of Saint Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas Becket), taken from a manuscript in the Goethals-Vercruysse collection, published by the Société des anciens textes Français, founded in Paris 1865. These extracts from the original manuscript are written in verse and edited by Meyer, a French philologist of the manuscript department of the Bibliothèque nationale from 1866 to 1872, also ranking as the chief authority of the French language in this era. This book also includes a series of 5 heliogravure plates showing samples from the original sheets..see full details