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  • Secret Memoirs of  the Duke and Dutchess of O***** (Orleans) –  Madame d’Aunoy – First Edition 1708

    Secret Memoirs of the Duke and Dutchess of O***** (Orleans) – Madame d’Aunoy – First Edition 1708

    Title continues … Intermix’d with the Amorous Intrigues and Adventures of the Most Eminent Princes of The Court of France

    Made into English from the Paris Edition. Published in London, and printed by S.P.R. Burrough and J. Baker in Cornhill E. Curll without Temple Bar. E Sanger at the Post-House, and A Collins at the Black Boy on Fleetstreet, and Sold by J. Morphew near Stationers-Hall, 1708

    First English edition translated from the French of the 1690’s. Small octavo, 293. Strange pagination as the printer obviously had his pages mixed up so several times out of order but text runs exactly. Rebound in full leather, in period style by Roger Perry. Four raised bands with separate red leather title label to second compartment. Blind rules to bands and board edges. A delightful item.

    An expose of the amorous goings on of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans. The Duchess was Henrietta of England (1644-1670) youngest daughter of King Charles I. She fled England at the age of three with her governess for the French Court. She married King Louis XIV brother Philippe Duke of Orleans. Phillipe a reputed bisexual had been party to a series of sexual scandals prior to the marriage which was secured after the restoration of the Monarchy in England by a dowry from her brother Charles II.

    An interesting piece if factually based fiction and not at all vulgar.

    The author Madame d’Aulnoy was Marie Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d’Aulnoy (1650-1705). Lucky to have got away with it we would say.

    Early expose of the amorous lives of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans.


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  • The Private History of the Court of England –  An Expose – Sarah Green – 1808

    The Private History of the Court of England – An Expose – Sarah Green – 1808

    Two volumes, second “corrected” edition published by the Author. Small, 287, 252 pages bound in contemporary half red roan, with really rather striking marbled paper rubbed a little at joints and ends, very clean internally, a very good set of a rare item.

    A political satire, secret history and sexual expose exploring the sexual morality of Regency Society through a historical novel based on King Edward IV. Irish born, Sarah Green (1790-1825) wrote this at an early age … people grew up more quickly then. Sadly she died young. Although we can find references to novels she purportedly wrote around the time of her birth so we question the official record.

    Rare expose on Regency Society ………. Sure to entertain ..


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  • The Hermit of Warkworth – Catnach Press Alnwick Northumberland – Thomas Percy 1806 – Special Provenance

    The Hermit of Warkworth – Catnach Press Alnwick Northumberland – Thomas Percy 1806 – Special Provenance

    This work had been published in the 1770’s in London. Penned by Thomas Percy and concerning his family.

    This edition is of special interest as it was produced by James Catnach of Catnach Press, Alnwick, Northumberland (the seat of the Percy family), Catnach Press has a special position in the history of English printing. The illustrations from wood cuts by Thomas Bewick who would become famous for his beautiful natural history engraving particularly birds. Catnach was to publish a work based on Buffon.

    Special provenance … owned by George Skelly September 19th, 1861 who was an expert on Catnach and lived at The Market Place, Alnwick. If you have never been there, then you should it’s a magical place. There is an inscription from Skelly to Charles Hindley dated Alnwick June 9th, 1876. Hindley a prolific author was to write the definitive history of the Catnach Press and separately James Catnach. He records his thanks for assistance given by Skelly in both.

    The Hermit of Warkworth a Northumberland Ballad in Three Fits (Parts), 170 four line verses in all. Marked as a second edition but dated as the first 1806. Dedication to the Duchess of Northumberland dated October 1805. Small octavo, 102 pages, the equivalent of the last three pages has been bound in in manuscript. Exceptionally neat and in the hand of gift giver George Skelly. The work also contains a short poem to the Duchess; and an “Advertisement” referencing Warkworth Castle and the Hermitage (another special place … more so) and Brinkburn Priory; and the Postscript which deals with the history of the Hermitage. At the end of each “Fit” are a few pages of notes regarding the use of language, places, historical events etc.

    We must give you a few lines from the First “Fit”.

    Dark was the night, and wild the storm,
    And loud the torrent’s roar;
    And loud the sea was heard to dash
    Against the distant shore.

    Musing on man’s weak hapless state,
    The lonely hermit lay;
    When, lo! He heard a female voice
    Lament in sore dismay.

    With hospitable haste he rose,
    And wak’d his sleeping fire:
    And snatching up a lighted brand,
    Forth hied the reverened sire.

    All sad beneath a neighbouring tree
    A beauteous maid he found,
    Who beat her breast, and with her tears
    Bedew’d the mossy ground

    O weep not, lady, weep not so;
    Nor let vain fears alarm;
    My little cell shall shelter thee,
    And keep thee safe from harm.

    The Hermit of Warkworth – Based on a True story – and another Magical Place … we love it!


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  • The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith -1791

    The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith -1791

    This is a single volume from Goldsmith’s Works published by Morison, Perth and Edinburgh.

    What makes it interesting as a single volume is that it contains all of his Poetical works along with his narrative on Lord Bolingbroke and Dr Parnell.

    Bound in full original calf with separate red leather title and a volume label. Small octavo, 209 pages, with two full page copper engraved plates. Page edges speckled the whole generally in very good antiquarian condition.

    Some quite lengthy and beautiful poems such as … the Deserted Village, the Traveller, the Hermit … and some amusing ones … A Description of an Author’s Bed-Chamber, the haunch of Venison and we quote here partly due to brevity … Epitaph on Edward Purdon

    Here lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
    Who long was a bookseller’s hack;
    He led such a damnable life in this world, -
    I don’t think he’ll wish to come back.

    Goldsmith explains … This gentleman was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; but having wasted his patrimony, he enlisted as a foot soldier. Growing tired of that employment, he obtained his discharge, and became a scribbler in the newspapers. He translated Voltaire’s Henriade.

    Oliver Goldsmith interesting Poetry and funnier than you thought.


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  • The Works of Andrew Marvell. Poetical, Controversial and Political, containing many Original Letters, Poems, and Tracts, never Before Printed. With a New Life of the Author, by Capt. Edward Thompson. 3 Quarto Volumes 1776

    The Works of Andrew Marvell. Poetical, Controversial and Political, containing many Original Letters, Poems, and Tracts, never Before Printed. With a New Life of the Author, by Capt. Edward Thompson. 3 Quarto Volumes 1776

    Three Volumes, large quarto, 648, 583 and 559 pages after preliminaries. Printed by Henry Baldwin for the Editor Captain Thompson. Bound in full leather with decorated spines. Some loss of leather but still an attractive antiquarian binding. Marbled endpapers, generally clean internally. A nice set of a scarce and valuable work. Substantial weighing in at 5.4 kgs. Carries the bookplates of Reg Ellery and Arthur Kay.

    Reginald Spencer Ellery (1897-1955) was a distinguished Melbourne based psychiatrist and writer. He opened the first private psychiatric facility in Victoria, was communist sympathiser and influenced Sidney Nolan by providing him with drawing made by his patients. He is described as having been rather Bohemian and more a fit with Oxford than Melbourne. He had a great love of poetry, so this set of Marvel’s Works would have been very precious to him.

    The Editor Captain Edward Thompson (1738-1786) rose the rank of Commodore. Well known as a literary figure and was known as “Poet Thompson’ in the navy. He also wrote sea songs including “Loose every sail to the Breeze” and “The Topsail shivers in the Wind”’ … which it does.

    List of subscribers totalling circa 170 with many dignitaries (Duke [Brother of King George III] and Duchess of Cumberland and Duke and Duchess Northumberland), David Garrick (of the Theatre), Voyager hero The Hon Admiral Byron (of the Wager and Grandfather of the Poet); various members of the distinguished Luttrell Family … Temple Luttrell as MP supporting the American cause in the War of Independence and unusually General Charles Lee who at the time of publication was waging war against the British in America and about to be captured and imprisoned. And many more … the nature of which says a lot about the writing of Andrew Marvell.

    An earlier volume of Marvell’s Works was published in 1726 edited by Cooke. They were deficient of the Prose Works and Many Letters and Pamphlets included here, including the Life of Marvel by Thompson. Complete, elegantly printed with broad margins.

    Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) is described as being a metaphysical poet, satirist and politician. He was great friend of John Milton. Yorkshire born he went to Hull Grammar and at 13 went to Trinity College, Cambridge … his portrait by Kneller is in the College collection. He then travelled on the Continent … according to Milton, Marvel mastered French, Italian and Spanish. On return he became tutor to the daughter of Lord General Thomas Fairfax. During this period, he wrote perhaps his most famous poem “To His Coy Mistress”. During the Anglo Dutch War of 1652, he wrote several satirical poems attacking the Dutch character. In 1653 he moved into the realm of Cromwell, wrote several poems in praise of Cromwell, and worked with a took over from Milton (who was going blind) as expert all things Latin.

    A taste of “To His Coy Mistress” …

    Had we but world enough, and time,
    This Coyness, Lady, were no crime
    We would sit down and think which way
    To walk and pass out long love’s day.
    Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
    Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
    Of Humber would complain. I would
    Love you ten years before the Flood,
    And you should, if you please, refuse
    Till the conversion of the Jews.

    Much quoted … a later line “deserts of vast eternity” is used by Woolf in Orlando. Hemingway in a Farewell to Arms quotes “But at my back I always hear – Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” … and even Stephen King makes reference in Pet Sematary.

    Marvellous Marvell Complete and in Good Form


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  • Paradise Regain’d a Poem in Four Books to which is added Samson Agonistes: and Poems upon Several Occasions – John Milton – 1753

    Paradise Regain’d a Poem in Four Books to which is added Samson Agonistes: and Poems upon Several Occasions – John Milton – 1753

    A second edition, with notes from various authors by Thomas Newton, published by Tonson, Draper and others, London in 1753.

    Bound as one thick octavo … First Volume – Paradise Regain’d over 203 pages after preliminaries; Samson Agonistes pages 207-325; Second Volume – Poems upon Several Occasions 386 pages plus “Index of the less common words occasionally explained and illustrated in the Notes”.

    Contemporary full leather binding rebacked at an early date, raised bands to spine with later in period title and author labels to the second and third compartments. Four copper engraved plates by Grignion from drawings by Hayman. Very little ageing or foxing a pretty clean set

    For those unfamiliar, Milton was hugely praised for his earlier work Paradise Lost. It is suggested that Quaker Ellwood had put to him “but what about Paradise Found” and from that suggestion Milton produced Paradise Regain’d which was first published in 1671. About one fifth of the length of Paradise Lost it is largely based on the temptations of Christ as recorded in the Gospel of St Luke.

    Samson Agonistes (Greek “the Champion) was published at the same time bound together as here. A tragedy that Milton never intended to be “played” … Samson the betrayal of Delila, losing his hair and consequently his strength and his sight (Milton was losing his at this time) and the destruction of the Temple. Handel based his famous oratorio on Milton’s work … the oft quoted expression “Eyeless in Gaza” was used by Aldous Huxley to title his novel of that name.

    The many poems include The Passion, On Time, Upon the Circumcision, At a Solemn Music, Song … On May Morning, On Shakespear [then spelling], A Mask. Sonnets include … To the Nightingale, On his being arriv’d to the age of 23, When the assault was intended to the City, To a virtuous young Lady, to the Lady Margaret Ley etc Psalms … numerous and in Latin

    Carries the bookplate of Robert Barker who was a tutor, Censor Philosophicus, Dean of Chapel at Queens’ College Cambridge at the time of publication. He was personal tutor to the Polish Prince Poniatowski.

    Mid 18th century Milton in full leather period binding


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