By W. Roberts.
One may be familiar with the origin and early history of the Roxburghe Club, and also to the disrepute in which its too zealous members, Hazlewood and Dibdin, contrived to place it. The club still exists, and flourishes in a manner which renders it unique among book-clubs. A complete set of its privately-printed booklets is an almost impossible feat of book-collecting, and an expensive luxury in which but few can afford to indulge. The present constitution of the club, the members of which dine together once a year, is as follows: President: The Marquis of Salisbury, K.G.; S.A.R. le Duc D'Aumale; the Duke of Buccleuch, K.T.; the Duke of Devonshire, K.G.; the Marquis of Bute, K.T.; the Marquis of Lothian, K.T.; the Marquis of Bath; Earl Cowper, K.G.; Earl of Crawford; Earl of Powis; Earl of Rosebery; Earl of Cawdor; Lord Charles W. Brudenell Bruce; Lord Zouche; Lord Houghton; Lord Amherst of Hackney; the Lord Bishop of Peterborough; the Lord Bishop of Salisbury; the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P.; Sir William R. Anson, Bart.; Charles Butler, Esq.; Ingram Bywater, Esq.; Richard Copley Christie, Esq.; Charles I. Elton, Esq.; Sir John Evans, K.C.B.; George Briscoe Eyre, Esq.; Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks; Thomas Gaisford, Esq.; Henry Hucks Gibbs, Esq. (vice-president); Alban George Henry Gibbs, Esq.; A. H. Huth, Esq. (treasurer); Andrew Lang, Esq.; J. Wingfield Malcolm, Esq.; John Murray, Esq.; Edward James Stanley, Esq.; Simon Watson Taylor, Esq.; Sir Edward Maunde Thompson (principal librarian of the British Museum); Rev. Edward Tindal Turner, Esq.; V. Bates Van de Weyer, Esq.; and W. Aldis Wright, Esq.
The finest and most select, and perhaps the most extensive, collection of books owned by any member of the Roxburghe Club is the noble library of Mr. Huth, whose father, the late Henry Huth, founded it. A very interesting account of this library, from two points of view—Mr. F. S. Ellis's and Mr. A. H. Huth's—appears in Part II. of Quaritch's 'Dictionary of English Book-collectors,' whilst the fullest account of all the rarities which it contains is comprised in the catalogue in five imperial octavo volumes. It is impossible to do justice to it in the brief space at our disposal. But a few rarities may be enumerated as showing its extremely varied nature. Nearly all the early printers are represented in the Huth Library—there are the Gutenberg and Fust and Schœffer Bibles; the Balbi Catholicon, 1460; there are over seventy Aldines, including the rare Virgil of 1501, with the bookplate of Bilibald Pirkheimer. There are no less than a dozen fine examples of Caxton's press; the only known copy on vellum of the 'Fructus Temporum' of the St. Albans press; about fifty works from the press of Wynkyn de Worde, of which several are unique; and sixteen works printed by Richard Pynson. Of Shakespeare quartos the late Mr. Huth secured a very fine series at the Daniel sale in 1864, including 'Richard II.,' 1597; 'Henry V.,' 1600; 'Richard III.,' 1597; 'Romeo and Juliet,' 1599; 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' 1600; 'Merchant of Venice,' 1600; 'Merrie Wives of Windsor,' 1602; 'Othello,' 1622; 'Titus Andronicus,' 1611; and 'Pericles,' 1609. The library is equally rich in the production of Elizabethan and Jacobean literature, many of the items being either unique or very nearly so; it is especially rich in first editions of the English poets from the earliest times down to Goldsmith, Keats, Shelley, etc. Indeed, the collection seems to contain the first or best editions of every English work of note; there are many fine manuscripts, and some highly interesting autographs. Mr. Ellis tells us that Mr. Huth always bought on his own judgment, without consultation and without hesitation, 'and I believe it may be safely affirmed that it would be difficult to name any collector who made fewer errors in his selection. He was never known to bargain for a book or to endeavour to cheapen it. The price named, he would at once say 'Yea' or 'Nay' to it, and though it was supposed at the time that he paid high prices for his books, it may be confidently asserted that as a whole they are worth very much more than he paid for them, which, I think, could not have been much less altogether than £120,000.' Joseph Lilly is said to have sold to or purchased for Mr. Huth books to the value of over £40,000. Mr. Huth was born in 1815, and died in 1878. The library is, as we have said, now the property of his son, Mr. Alfred H. Huth, who has made a number of important additions to it, and who is as ardent and as genuine a bibliophile as his father.
Without approaching either in size or interest to that of Mr. Huth, the choice collection of books formed by Mr. Henry Hucks Gibbs, and lodged at his town-house at St. Dunstan's, Regent's Park, is full of attraction to the student of English literature. Early in the present century St. Dunstan's was inhabited by the Lord Steyne of Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair,' and it was here that the orgies took place which resulted in the sensational trial of Nicholas Suisse, the confidant of Lord Hertford. The library at St. Dunstan's is a lofty, well-lighted room of about 28 feet by 20 feet, and the bookcases are made of Thuya wood from Australia, a wood which is exceedingly beautiful when polished. Mr. Gibbs's first book of note was purchased at Bright's sale in 1845, and was St. Augustine's 'De Arte Predicandi,' a volume of twenty-two leaves, and of well-known interest to students of early typography. Of Bibles there are over fifty examples, including Coverdale's, 1535, Matthew's, 1537, Cromwell's, 1539, a very large copy, and Cranmer's, 1540. The fine series of Prayer-Books comprises forty-seven in English, from the time of Edward VI. (1549) to that of Queen Victoria, whilst thirty-five others are in foreign languages. There are nine Primers from the time of Henry VIII. to Elizabeth; and there are no fewer than thirty-one editions of the New Testament. Examples of some of the choicest known Books of Hours and Missals are also in this collection, whilst among the six editions of the 'Imitatio Christi' there is a sixteenth-century manuscript on two hundred and forty-seven folios of paper, written by Francis Montpoudie de Weert, for the use of Bruynix, Priest, Dean of Christianity. Among the incunabula there is a very large copy of the 'Chronicon Nurembergense,' 1495, and two Caxtons: first, the 'Polychronicon' of Ralph Higden, 1482; and, secondly, the 'Golden Legend,' 1483, which latter was successively in the Towneley and the Glendening collections. The other more notable articles include fine copies of the four Folio Shakespeares, first editions of Milton's 'Comus,' 'Lycidas,' 'Eikonoklastes,' 'Paradise Lost,' and 'Paradise Regained,' several Spensers, and very complete sets of the privately-printed books edited by the Rev. A. B. Grosart, Halliwell-Phillipps, H. Huth, E. Arber, and E. W. Ashbee. A very interesting catalogue raisonné of Mr. Gibbs's choice library has been printed, to which the reader is referred for further particulars.
Just as the minds of no two men run in precisely similar grooves, so no two libraries are found to be identical. Many bear a very striking resemblance to one another, but in more than one respect they will be found to differ. The splendid library formed by Mr. R. Copley Christie, the president or past-president of quite a number of learned societies, is altogether unique, so far as this country is concerned, and his library in a garden—truly the summum bonum of human desires!—at Ribsden, near Bagshot, is certainly one of the most remarkable which it has been our privilege to examine. Mr. Christie has not endeavoured to collect everything, but he has no rival in the specialities to which he has devoted his particular attention. He is the author of the only complete monograph on Etienne Dolet, which has been translated into French, and of which M. Goblet, when Minister of Public Instruction, caused 250 copies to be purchased for distribution among the public libraries of France. Of the eighty-four books (many of which are now lost) printed by Dolet, there are three collections worthy of the name, and the relative value of these will be seen when we state that Mr. Christie possesses copies of forty-four, the Bibliothèque Nationale thirty, and the British Museum twenty-five. Mr. Christie's collection of the editions of Horace is probably the finest in existence outside one or two public libraries; he has about 800 volumes, and among these are translations into nearly every European language. He has upwards of 300 Aldines, nearly forty of which are editiones principes. The works of the early French printers generally are objects of special interest; he has, for example, about 400 volumes printed by Sebastian Gryphius, at Lyons, from 1528 to 1556. Mr. Christie's library is also very rich in works of or relating to Pomponatius, Hortensio Landi, Postel, Ramus, J. Sturm, Scioppius, Giulio Camillo, and particularly Giordano Bruno.
A considerable number of the members of the Roxburghe Club come in the category of book-lovers rather than book-collectors. The Earl of Rosebery is understood to possess many valuable books and manuscripts relating to Scottish literature, particularly in reference to Robert Burns; but beyond this he has no fixed rule regarding additions to his library, 'except his course of reading for the moment.' The father of the present Lord Zouche formed a small but valuable library, which is now at Parham Park, Steyning, Sussex; it consists of some rare Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Bulgarian, and other manuscripts, of a Biblical nature, some of which are now on loan to the British Museum. In addition to these, there are a good many early printed books, first editions, and so forth, and also an extensive reference library, to which the present Lord Zouche has made some important additions. The extensive library of the Marquis of Bath, at Longleat, Warminster, has been formed at different times and by different persons; and what the present holder of the title has added has been bought without any method on various subjects in which his Grace happened to take an interest at the time. Sir John Evans's library is for the most part comprised of archæological, numismatical, and geological publications, with a certain number of old volumes 'which, though of intrinsic interest, cannot be regarded as bibliographical treasures.' Both Sir William Reynell Anson and the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P., possess good working libraries, but disclaim the possession of what are known as 'collector's' books. The present Marquis of Bute possesses several extensive libraries of books at his various seats, and chiefly composed of works relating to Scottish history, to liturgical, philological, and archæological subjects. The first Marquis of Bute formed an excellent collection of Spanish, Italian, and French classics, of books of memoirs, and of works relating to the English Reformation. The third Marquis formed another library, chiefly of a historical character, an exceedingly important portion of it being an extensive series of books and pamphlets relating to the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune. The Duke of Buccleuch has also several fine libraries at his various seats, the chief collections being at Dalkeith and Bowhill, Selkirk; his Grace keeps very few books in London. The books at Dalkeith have been catalogued by Mr. A. H. Bullen, who proposes to print some notes on the subject.
The Duke of Devonshire's library at Chatsworth is one of the most varied and extensive in the kingdom. An admirable catalogue of it was printed in four volumes in 1879, and its value as a bibliographical compilation may be estimated by the fact that the only copy which occurred in the market during the past eight years fetched £10. The library has been formed by the taste and learning of several generations of the Cavendish family, from the middle of the sixteenth century to the present day. The rarest book which it contains is the 'Liber Veritatis,' or collection of original designs of Claude Lorraine. The greatest additions were made to the library by William Spencer, sixth Duke, who, indeed, may be called its founder in its present form. This nobleman, on the advice of Tom Payne, offered £20,000 for the purchase of Count McCarthy's celebrated collection. The offer was declined, but the Duke was a purchaser to the extent of £10,000 of the choicer portions of the library of Thomas Dampier, Bishop of Ely, composed, for the most part, of Greek and Latin classics. The Duke bought largely at the Stanley, Horn Tooke, Towneley, Edwards, and Roxburghe sales. The library possesses the unique collection of plays formed by John Philip Kemble, and for which £2,000 were paid in 1821. The chief features of the library comprise a fine series of the editions of the Bible and of Boccaccio; there are also twenty-three works of Caxton, the most extensive in private hands, now that the Althorp collection has, or is about to, become public property. There are two dozen books from the press of Wynkyn de Worde, and no less than 200 editions of Cicero, including a magnificent copy of the editio princeps.
The libraries of two members of the Roxburghe Club have been dispersed by auction during the last few years—the Earl of Crawford's, in 1887 and 1889, to which reference has already been made; and Mr. Thomas Gaisford's, in 1890. The former has still a considerable number of important books, to which he is constantly adding; whilst his eldest son is worthily sustaining the reputation of the family for its love of rare and beautiful books. Mr. Gaisford has also a very large library, but he himself describes the books as of no special interest.
The Marquis of Salisbury possesses, at Hatfield, a fine library, which, like that of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth, is rather the accumulation of centuries than the formation of any particular head of the house. Many of the oldest and rarest books were at one time the properties of either Lord Burghley, Sir Robert Cecil, or of some other distinguished member of the family. We may mention a few of the incunabula: Æneas Silvius, 'Epistolæ,' 1496; St. Augustine, 'De Civitate Dei,' 1477; a copy of the magnificently-printed edition of Aulus Gellius, 'Noctes Atticæ,' Jenson, 1477, a very rare work; Cicero, 'Ad Atticum,' 1470, also printed by Jenson; an example of the editio princeps Homer, Florence, 1488; Juvenal, 'Satyræ,' 1474; the very rare second edition of Lactantius, 'Opera,' printed at Rome by Sweynheym and Parmartz, 1468; Livy, 'Historiarum Romanorum,' printed by Zarothus, 1480; Pomponius Mela, 'Cosmographia,' 1482; Ruffus, 'Opera,' 1472. Lord Salisbury's library includes several books which once belonged to Roger Ascham, notably a copy of Aristophanes, 'Comodiæ,' 1532; Aristotle, 'Opera,' 1531; Peter Martyr, 'Tractatio et Disputatio de Sacramento Eucharistiæ,' etc., 1549, one of the only two copies of which we have any record, the other example being in the Lambeth Library; and a large number of tracts of the time of Henry VIII. Of about 200 books which belonged to Sir Robert Cecil, we may mention two editions of Aristotle, 'Ethica,' 1572 and 1575; Baret, 'An Alvearie, or triple Dictionarie,' in English, Latin, and French, 1573; French Bible, 1546; Bodin, 'La Demonomanie des Sorciers,' 1580; Brache, 'Epistolarium Astronomicorum,' 1596; 'Astronomiæ Instauratæ,' 1602, and 'De Mundi Ætherei,' 1603; two editions of Cicero, 'Rhetorica,' 1552, 1562; Henning's 'Theatrum Genealogicum,' 1598; Galen, 'De Alimentis,' 1570; three editions of 'Natura Brevium,' one of 1566, and two of 1580; Ubaldino, 'Lo Stata Della Tre Corti,' 1594. The books of Lord Burghley include Aristotle, 'Ethica,' 1535; 'Opera,' 1539; 'Politica,' 1543; Ashley, 'Mariner's Mirror,' 1586; Basilius, 'Homiliæ,' 1528, and 'Opera,' 1551; Beda, 'Historia Ecclesiastica'; St. Chrysostom, 'Opera,' 1536; Cyrillus, 'Opera,' 1528; Demosthenes, 'Orationes,' 1528. The edition of Dioscorides, 'Opera,' 1529, belonged, respectively, to Lord Burghley and Sir John Cheke.
The library of Mr. John Murray, the eminent publisher, of Albemarle Street, is a small one, but every item is either excessively rare or unique. Its formation was begun by Mr. Murray's grandfather, whilst his father made considerable additions. Naturally, it is very strong in manuscripts and first editions of Byron. It contains, for example, not only the original manuscript of 'The Waltz,' but the several proof-sheets up to a very fine copy of the perfect book. There are also the manuscript of the four cantos of 'Childe Harold' and the various proof corrections. There are also first editions of Goldsmith's 'Traveller,' 'The Deserted Village,' 'The Haunch of Venison,' and 'The Captivity,' with the receipt for the ten guineas which Goldsmith received for it from Dodsley. Mr. Murray possesses the entire manuscript of Sir Walter Scott's 'Abbot.' This was originally minus three leaves. One of these leaves occurred in the market a few years ago, and passed into the possession of an American collector for £17 10s.; a second was secured, also at an auction, for £6 by Mr. Murray, so that the manuscript is only now wanting two leaves. The very interesting commonplace book of Robert Burns was given by Mr. Murray's grandfather to J. G. Lockhart, who left it to his son-in-law, Mr. Hope-Scott, from whom it again passed into the possession of the late Mr. John Murray. The manuscript 'Journal' of Thomas Gray's travels in England, for the most part unpublished, is also in Albemarle Street, as is also the manuscript of Washington Irving's 'Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey.' The first edition of Pope's 'Dunciad,' successively in the possession of Malone, Elwin and Peter Cunningham; Pope's own copy of Sir Richard Blackmore's 'Paraphrase of Job,' 1700, with numerous suggested improved readings in Pope's own handwriting; the Quarterly Review article of Southey on Nelson, with the extensive elaborations from which the printed edition of the book was set up; a fine copy of the First Folio Shakespeare, 1623; a very fine copy of the editio princeps St. Augustine, 'De Civitate Dei,' Rome, 1468; the editio princeps Homer, Florence, 1488; a good copy of the first edition of Shakespeare's 'Midsummer-Night's Dreame,' James Roberts, 1600; a copy of the Prince Consort's 'Speeches,' presented to Mr. John Murray, with an autograph letter from the Queen—these are a few of the many notable books of which Mr. Murray is the fortunate owner. But among the more interesting of the manuscripts are the volumes of notes made at various times and on divers occasions by the late John Murray in his travels in North Germany, France, Switzerland, and South Germany, and from which the celebrated guide-books were printed—practically every word in the first and early editions of these widely-known books was written by the compiler.
New Lodge, Windsor Forest, the residence of Colonel Victor Bates Van de Weyer, contains a collection of books of a unique character, collected at vast trouble and expense by his father, the late M. Sylvain Van de Weyer, one of the founders of the Belgian monarchy, and for many years Ambassador to the Court of St. James's. M. S. Van de Weyer, who was born in 1802, and died in 1874, stood in the front rank of modern bibliophiles, and the magnitude of his collections may be estimated from the fact that, with town and country house full to overflowing, he had 30,000 volumes in the Pantechnicon when it was burnt down. He was an indefatigable and discriminating reader as well as a munificent purchaser. The library is rich in rare editions beautifully bound by men whose names rank first in the art of bibliopegy. There is a wonderful collection of fables, and a most complete library of ana. The presentation copies of books are numerous and interesting, bearing as they do the autographs of individuals famous in politics, literature, and art. The present owner, who succeeded his father as a member of the Roxburghe Club, has had the books in the library catalogued, and the welfare of this noble collection is well thought of.
Both Lord Houghton and Lord Amherst of Hackney possess fine libraries of rare and interesting books. That of the latter includes a Caxton, 'The Laste Siege and Conquest of Jherusalem,' 1481; Henry VIII.'s copy of Erasmus, 'Dialogi,' 1528; the same King's copy of Whytforde's 'The Boke called the Pype or Toune of the Lyfe of Perfection,' 1532; Grolier's copies of Stoplerinus, 'Elucidatio fabricæ usuque Astrolabii,' 1524, and of 'Prognosticatio Johannis Liechtenbergers,' 1526; Maioli's copy of 'Clitophonis Narratio Amatoria,' Lyons, 1544; books bound by Nicholas Eve; early English bindings; and many others. Mr. C. I. Elton, Q.C., M.P., has a fine library, of which a catalogue raisonné has been drawn up and printed. Mr. Charles Butler and Mr. Ingram Bywater possess a number of interesting and rare books. Many of the more notable specimens of the bindings in the libraries of the three last-mentioned gentlemen were exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1891, and are described in the catalogue.
Mr. Andrew Lang is not only a distinguished bibliophile, but a prolific writer on the subject of books. He is understood to have an extensive library of an exceedingly miscellaneous character. He has an especial liking for books which bear the traces of former distinguished owners. He himself has pointed out that, 'as a rule, tidy and self-respecting people do not even write their names on their fly-leaves, still less do they scribble marginalia. Collectors love a clean book, but a book scrawled on may have other merits. Thackeray's countless caricatures add a delight to his old school books; the comments of Scott are always to the purpose; but how few books once owned by great authors come into the general market. Where is Dr. Johnson's library, which must bear traces of his buttered toast? Sir Mark Sykes used to record the date and place of purchase, with the price—an excellent habit. The selling value of a book may be lowered even by a written owner's name, but many a book, otherwise worthless, is redeemed by an interesting note. Even the uninteresting notes gradually acquire an antiquarian value, if contemporary with the author. They represent the mind of a dead age, and perhaps the common scribbler is not unaware of this; otherwise he is, indeed, without excuse. For the great owners of the past, certainly, we regret that they were so sparing in marginalia. But this should hardly be considered as an excuse for the petty owners of the present, with "their most observing thumb."' Mr. Lang is the lucky owner of a copy of Stoddart's poem, 'The Death Wake' (1831), that singular romantic or necromantic volume, which wise collectors will purchase when they can. It is of extreme rarity, and the poetry is no less rare, in the French manner of 1830. On this specimen Aytoun has written marginalia. Where the hero's love of arms and dread of death are mentioned, Aytoun has written 'A rum cove for a Hussar,' and he has added designs of skeletons and a sonnet to the 'wormy author.' 'A curse! a curse!' shrieks the poet. 'Certainly, but why and wherefore?' says Aytoun. There is nothing very precious in his banter; still it is diverting to follow in the footsteps of the author of 'Ta Phairshon.' Mr. Lang also possesses John Wilkes' copy of the second edition of 'Theocritus, Bion and Moschus,' in French, with Eisen's plates; he has Leon Gambetta's copy of the 'Journée Chrétienne,' Collet's copy of his friend Crashaw's 'Steps to the Temple,' and a copy of Montaigne, with the autograph of Drummond of Hawthornden.
The late Frederick Locker-Lampson, whose lamented death occurred whilst the earlier pages of this book—in which he took much interest—were passing through the press, was an ideal book-collector. He cared only for books which were in the most perfect condition. The unique character of the Rowfant library, its great literary and commercial value, and its wide interest, may be studied at length in its admirable catalogue, which of itself is a valuable work of reference. Mr. Locker, for it is by this name, and as the author of 'London Lyrics,' that he will be best remembered, devoted his attention almost exclusively to English literature, although of late years he had devoted as much attention as his frail health would allow to the formation of a section of rare books in French literature. It would be impossible to describe in this place all the many book rarities at Rowfant; we must be content, therefore, with indicating a few of the more interesting ones: Alexander Pope's own copy of Chapman's translation of Homer, 1611; one of the largest known copies of the First Folio Shakespeare, 1623; an extensive series of the first or early quarto editions of Shakespeare's plays, about fifty in number—including the spurious plays—many of which were at one time in the collections of Steevens, George Daniel, Tite, or Halliwell-Phillipps. The library is rich in other writers of the Elizabethan period—of Nash, Dekker, Greene, Gabriel Harvey. There are also a long series of the first editions of Dryden; the earliest issues of the first complete edition of 'Pilgrim's Progress'; of 'Robinson Crusoe' (the three parts); of 'Gulliver's Travels,' besides about a score of other editiones principes of Swift, Pope, Goldsmith, Fielding, Richardson, Johnson, Gay, Gray, Lamb, Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Thackeray, Dickens and many others. The two early printed books of especial interest are the 'De Senectute,' printed by Caxton, 1481, and Barbour's 'Actis and Lyfe of the maist Victorious Conquerour, Robert Bruce, King of Scotland,' printed at Edinburgh by Robert Lepruik in 1571. The room in which the books are kept is virtually a huge safe; it was at one time a small ordinary room, and it has been converted into a fireproof library, with brick walls within brick walls; the floor of concrete, nearly two feet thick, and a huge iron door, complete an ingenious and effective protection against the most destructive of all enemies of books—fire.
The library of Mr. Joseph Knight, the editor of Notes and Queries, more nearly resembles a select and orderly bookseller's premises than a private individual's. It seems almost impossible to believe that the comparatively small house in Camden Square could contain between 12,000 and 13,000 volumes, and yet such is undoubtedly the case. Every room is crowded, and all the sides of the staircases are crowded with books from top to bottom. Mr. Knight's library is essentially a working one, but it is also something more. It is rich in editions of Froissart's 'Chronicles'; in editions of Rabelais—notably the excessively rare one printed by Michel le Noir, 1505; in Elzevir editions it includes a very extensive series; the series of the 'Restif de la Bretonne' includes about 200 volumes, being one of the few complete sets in London. A few of Mr. Knight's greatest rarities have come to him at very cheap rates—e.g., the 'Apologie pour Herodote,' 1566, without any of the cartons, or cancels, upon which the Genevese authorities insisted. This little volume, of which there are very few copies known, cost Mr. Knight 16s., neither buyer nor seller knowing its value at the time of the transfer. Another 'bargain' is the fine copy of Baudelaire, 'Les Fleurs de Mal,' 1857, which was fished out of a fourpenny box in High Street, Marylebone! Mr. Knight's collection of French plays and of works relating to the French stage is, like that of the English dramatists—ancient and modern—exceedingly extensive. He possesses, also, a few good Aldines, a number of Bodonis, and some books of Le Gason.
Mr. Gladstone is, of course, a book-collector, as well as an omnivorous reader. The Grand Old Book-hunter's literary tastes cover almost every conceivable phase of intellectual study. His library contains about 30,000 volumes, to which theology contributes about one-fourth. The works are arranged by Mr. Gladstone himself into divisions and sections. For many years he was an inveterate bookstaller, a practice which of late years has brought with it a certain amount of inconvenience. After attending Mr. H. M. Stanley's wedding, for example, in 1890, Mr. Gladstone went on one of his second-hand book expeditions, this time to Garratt's, in Southampton Row. The right hon. gentleman walked with his customary elasticity, and was followed to the shop by a large crowd of admirers, chiefly consisting of working men, whose enthusiasm was kept in order by three policemen. Outside the bookseller's several hundred people gathered, and they were not disappointed in their wish to see the Grand Old Man, for Mr. Garratt's shop does not boast of a back-door through which fame can escape its penalties. On coming out, Mr. Gladstone, looking, as a working man standing on the kerb expressed it, 'as straight as a new nail,' received quite an ovation, the people waving their hats and cheering vigorously as he drove away in a cab. Mr. Gladstone's marked catalogues are a familiar and a peculiarly welcome feature with second-hand booksellers, who proudly expose them in their windows. A bookseller who exhibited one of these catalogues before the Old Man retired from the Premiership was accosted by a strong Tory with the remark: 'I see you've got a list marked by Gladstone's initials in the window;' and then, whispering fiercely in the bookseller's ear, he added, 'Does he pay you?' We give a facsimile of one of Mr. Menken's catalogues with an order for books from Mr. Gladstone.
Mr. Henry Spencer Ashbee, of Bedford Square, has a small but charming library, nearly every volume being beautifully bound. The books are, for the most part, modern, and chiefly French. There are, for example, Sainte-Beuve's 'Livre d'Amour,' which was suppressed after a few copies were struck off, with the author's own corrections; the Fortsas 'Catalogue,' the cruel joke of M. Renier Chalon; first editions of 'The English Spy,' an exceptionally fine copy; Coryat's 'Crambe, or, his Colwork,' 1611; Roger's 'Poems' and 'Italy'; a number of books illustrated by Chodowiecki, the Cruikshank of Germany; practically all the books published by M. Octave Uzanne and Paul Lacroix in the finest possible states. Mr. Ashbee possesses several extra-illustrated or grangerized books of exceptional interest—the nine volumes of Nichols' 'Literary Anecdotes' are extended to thirty-four, there being upwards of 5,000 additional portraits, views, and so forth. Mr. Ashbee's library comprises several thousand volumes, the binding alone of which must have cost a small fortune.
The libraries of Mr. Thomas J. Wise and Mr. Walter Slater may be bracketed together, partly because they have been formed side by side. They differ in many respects, however. Mr. Wise's is a small but choice collection of books, autographs, and manuscripts of modern writers. He possesses, for the most part, in first editions of the finest quality, practically everything written by Matthew Arnold, William Blake, Robert Browning and Mrs. Browning, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, George Eliot, Leigh Hunt, Charles Lamb, Landor, Meredith, William Morris, John Ruskin, Swinburne, and Tennyson. Of Shelley, for example, Mr. Wise has a collection of 400 books and pamphlets by or concerning him. There is only one other collection comparable to it, and it is that possessed by Mr. Buxton Forman. Of Byron Mr. Wise has everything, including 'The Waltz,' 'Poems on Various Occasions,' and all the other excessively rare publications of this prolific poet, the only exception, indeed, being 'The Curse of Minerva,' 1812. Mr. Wise's collection of Ruskiniana is practically complete, and includes a number of privately-printed pamphlets issued to a few personal friends. Mr. Walter Slater's books and manuscripts include a unique series of both Dante G. Rossetti and Walter Savage Landor. Of the former, it contains the manuscript of three-fourths of the 'House of Life' series of sonnets, the manuscript of 'St. Agnes,' and the whole of the extant manuscript of 'The King's Tragedy'; these manuscripts usually include not only the 'copy' as it was sent to the printer, but usually the first and second drafts. The series of Landor books and pamphlets is quite complete, from his first book of poems, 'Moral Epistles,' issued in 1795, and the equally excessively rare 'Poems from the Arabic and Persian,' issued at Warwick in 1800, to 'Savonarola,' in Italian, 1860. Mr. Slater has a complete series of the first editions of the curious works of Mrs. Behn.
Mr. Clement K. Shorter, the editor of the Illustrated London News, the Sketch, and several other publications, is a book-collector who, like Mr. Wise and Mr. Slater, has pitched his 'tent' on the northern heights of London. Mr. Shorter has an unusually complete set of the works of Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, Sir Walter Scott, Charlotte Brontë—besides the 'Cottage Poems' of old Mr. Brontë—and Matthew Arnold. Of the last named there are copies of the very limited editions of 'Geist's Grave,' 'St. Brandran,' 'Home Rule for Ireland,' and 'Alaric at Rome.' Mr. Shorter's Ruskin treasures include a volume of the plates of 'Modern Painters,' on India paper, bound up in vellum. There are also several first editions of the earlier works of Carlyle, and William Watson's 'Lachrymæ Musarum,' on vellum, with the original manuscript bound up with it. Mr. Shorter has many interesting manuscripts and books by Oliver Wendell Holmes, R. L. Stevenson, and A. C. Swinburne, with autographs or notes by their respective authors. Mr. Richard le Gallienne, the well-known author, has for many years been a confirmed book-hunter, and has come across some rare and interesting finds. Mr. Henry Norman, the traveller and assistant editor of the Daily Chronicle, has a number of choice and rare books, chiefly first editions of American authors—J. Russell Lowell, Longfellow, O. W. Holmes, Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Whittier—nearly all of whom were personal friends of Mr. Norman's. Mr. Norman has gone to the extravagance of two sets of the first editions of Thomas Hardy's books, whilst of George Meredith there is one complete set.
The House of Commons contains several men who have very excellent libraries and excellent judgments of books. Mr. Leonard Courtney has been guilty of bookstalling a good many times in his successful career, and is, perhaps, an exception to the general rule that good political economists usually make poor book-hunters. Mr. Courtney possesses a good many uncommon books, which he has picked up from time to time. Mr. Augustine Birrell, Q.C., the author of 'Obiter Dicta,' and son-in-law of the late Frederick Locker-Lampson, has a good library of from 5,000 to 6,000 books. Among these may be noticed the first edition of Gray's 'Elegy,' picked up at Hodgson's for 3s. 6d.; first edition of Keats' 'Endymion,' purchased off a stall in the Euston Road for 2s. 6d.; first edition of 'Wuthering Heights'; and an extensive series of books relating to or by Dryden, Pope, Swift, and others of that period, as well as a number of presentation copies of books by Matthew Arnold, Browning, and Tennyson, etc. Mr. T. R. Buchanan, M.P., who was for many years librarian of All Souls' College, Oxford, has a small but select library of books which are, for the most part, remarkable on account of the beauty or rarity of their bindings. It is especially strong in fine specimens of early English and Scotch bindings; there are a few examples from De Thou's library, and a few characteristic specimens of Italian and Flemish bindings of the best periods. The books themselves are principally editions of the classics; but the section of Bibles printed in England and Scotland is a full one. There are also many volumes with a personal interest; for example, the copy of Locke's 'Essay concerning the Human Understanding' was once Coleridge's, and contains a note by him to this effect: 'This is, perhaps, the most admirable of Locke's works; read it, Southey,' etc.; and the copy of the 'Libri Carolini,' 1549, was Scaliger's.
Captain R. S. Holford, of Dorchester House, Park Lane, has a choice library of beautiful and rare books, formed by his father, the late H. S. Holford. For many years its chief treasure was the only known first edition of 'Pilgrim's Progress,' 1678, which was valued at £50; during the last few years, however, four other copies have turned up, without, however, lessening the commercial value of the Holford copy, which would probably fetch two or three times the amount at which it was valued thirty years ago. The facsimile of the first edition issued a few years ago was made from Mr. Holford's copy. A few other treasures of Captain Holford's library may be briefly mentioned as follows: A fifteenth-century manuscript of Livy's 'Historia,' on vellum, in a Venetian binding, with the arms of Aragon; Cardinal Hippolyto d'Este's copy of Rhinghier, 'Cento Giuochi Liberali, et d' Ingegno,' Bologna, 1551; Grolier's copy of Pliny, 'Epistolæ,' etc., Venice, 1518; of Valerius Maximus, Venice, 1534; and of 'Epitomes des Roys de France,' Lyons, 1546; the Maioli copy of Homer, 'Odyssea,' Paris, 1538; Du Bellay's 'Memoirs,' 1572, with the arms of Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condé; and the copy of 'Liber Psalmorum Davidis,' 1546, bound by Nicholas Eve for De Thou.
Dr. W. H. Corfield, Mr. C. E. H. Chadwyck-Healey, Q.C., Sir Julian Goldsmid, M.P., Mr. C. F. Murray, Mr. George Salting, Mr. Samuel Sandars, Mr. H. Yates Thompson, Mr. H. Virtue Tebbs, and Mr. T. Foster Shattock, are understood to possess choice libraries of books noted chiefly for the beauty or rarity of their bindings. M. John Gennadius, late Greek Minister at the Court of St. James's, possessed one of the finest libraries formed during recent years. This collection was destined to supplement and ornament the National Library of Greece, founded at Athens by his Excellency's father, on the very morrow of her liberation. Fate, however, ordered otherwise, and these beautiful books were, consequently, dispersed at Sotheby's, from March 28 to April 9, the eleven days' sale of 3,222 lots realizing £5,466. The library of Mr. W. Christie-Miller, of Britwell Court, Maidenhead, is understood to include many choice books, particularly early printed works, but no particulars of it are available.
Holland House Library is one of great historic value and interest. It is fully described by the Princess Marie Liechtenstein, in her monograph on the place. Macaulay has described the appearance of the library in his famous essay on Lord Holland. It is rather a collection formed by a statesman and a literary man than by a bibliophile; there are over 10,000 volumes, many of which are privately printed books, presentation copies; there is a large collection of historical works relating to Italy, Portugal, and France; Spanish literature, a memento of the taste of the third Lord Holland, is well represented; the collection of Elzevirs is very fine, as is also that of the Greek and Latin classics, and the highly curious collection of various copies of Charles James Fox's 'James II.,' which belonged to different celebrities, is housed here.
Mr. C. J. Toovey inherited from his father, the late James Toovey, a fine library of exceptionally choice books; it is rich in monuments of the Early English printers, one of its gems being a fine copy of the 'Boke of St. Albans'; Aldines probably form one of its largest sections, whilst in bindings by the great masters of the French school of bibliopegic art the library has very few equals. Many of these were purchased by the late Mr. Toovey in Paris, long before the present rage for them had commenced, so that, as an investment, they will doubtless yield a handsome profit if they ever come into the market. The series of Walton's 'Angler' includes the first edition, with a presentation inscription by the author; there is also the largest known First Folio edition of Shakespeare.
This is taken from The Book-Hunter in London.
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