Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bruce Presentation Copy of Rossetti's Early Italian Poets

Rossetti, D[ante]. G[abriel]. (transl.), THE EARLY ITALIAN POETS FROM CIULLO D'ALCAMO TO DANTE ALIGHIERI: (1100-1200-1300) IN THE ORIGINAL METRES TOGETHER WITH DANTE'S VITA NUOVA (London: Smith Elder & Co., 1861). First edition, 18 x 12cm (8vo), rebound w/new russet ep.s in black diaper-grain cloth w/most of the original dark olive rib-grain cloth laid down, w/gilt title & design (by the author) to covers & spine, a.e. untrimmed, [i-vi] vii-xxxvi, [1] 2-464, [1-2 Errata & announcement of DGR's forthcoming Dante at Verona and Other Poems] pp. Printed by Whittingham & Wilkins at the Chiswick Press, London. Inscribed in ink to half-title: "To Mrs William Bruce with kind regards- D.G. Rossetti 1864," below which "A.M. Bruce 1866" & "A.H. Martin 78" are inscr. in pencil. This copy corresponds with Colbeck 4, in which p.352 is misnumbered "252"; however, B2 B6 E6 F2 H1 H4 & DD5, which are pasted into most copies, appear to be sewn into this one. Binding Very Good (moderate rubbing to cloth); contents Very Good (sl. creasing to a few leaves, & lt. marginal dampstains to pp.131-160, 193-206 & 290-300). Athenæum 22 Feb. 1862 pp.253-54 (by H.C. Barlow), Slater 2, Rossetti 9, Vaughan 11, Ashley IV 113, Ehrsam & Deily 219, Fredeman 23.3, Fennell 19, Ball 159, Colbeck 4. (Inv. #661) C$2,500

Provenance: Gifted by the author in 1864 to Mrs. William Bruce; thence in 1866 to her daughter Anna Mary Bruce (b.1846); A.H. Martin by 1878.
The original recipient, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth née Conybeare Bruce (ca.1818-1866), was the daughter of the Dean of Llandaff & the wife of Canon William Bruce, who in 1869 approved DGR's request to retouch his Llandaff Cathedral reredos (see DGR as Designer & Writer 1889, p.67); she was also the sister-in-law of Sir Henry Austin Bruce, a friend of DGR's since 1856. In 1862, in a fit of profound remorse & sadness, DGR buried his manuscript poems, which were to be published as Dante at Verona and Other Poems, with his recently-deceased wife. In Sept. 1869, after being convinced by a few friends that he should publish his lost poetry, DGR wrote to Sir Henry personally requesting his legal consent for Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti's exhumation in order to retrieve his manuscript notebook. This remarkable copy, dedicated to DGR's wife & advertising his forthcoming but soon abandoned edition of poetry, was presented to the sister-in-law of the man whose later consent for the exhumation made such an edition (Poems 1870) possible.

And, The Rare Issue With Seven Integral Leaves

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