Rutter, John

Delineations of Fonthill and its abbey.

Shaftesbury, the author 1823.

Reference: 14486
Price: £1 [convert currency]

Full Description

4to. xxvi + 127 + (1)pp, 13 +(1) engr plates (of which 3 are hand-coloured, including decorative title leaf, and plate 1 is a double page folding litho map), woodcut vignette ills in text. Contemporary decorative cloth, neatly rebacked with morocco spine. Ink presentation inscription to Rose Lawrence from “her very sincere friend, J.H.Smyth” (Rev.John Hill Smyth, a Liverpool clergyman and subscriber). Nineteenth century armorial bookplate of Charles Lawrence (Rose Lawrence’s husband), and early twentieth century book label of Edward Hutton, 114 Clifton Hill, St Johns Wood (Edward Hutton (1875-1969, travel writer).

First and only edition. The best contemporary publication on William Beckford’s extravagantly Gothic house at Fonthill, built for him by James Wyatt between 1796 and 1812. Rutter began the book when the house still belonged to Beckford, but completed it after Beckford had sold the house to John Farquhar, and in its finished form it is a remarkably vivid memorial to the house in the closing days of Beckford’s period of ownership. Rutter’s text is eloquent on the opulence of the interior and of its furnishings, and his plates convey the grandeur of the central tower (soon to collapse) and the appearance of the principal rooms. The present copy is an example of the small paper printing (there were also large paper copies and more expensive large paper copies in which the plates were india-paper proofs). It was a gift from one of the original subscribers to Rose Lawrence (née d’Aguilar), a Liverpool-based poet, author of The Last Autumn at a Favourite Residence and Other Poems, 1836, and a friend of another early nineteenth century female poet, Mrs Hemans. Abbey, Scenery 418; BAL Cat 2881 (our copy corresponds to the BAL copy, in that there is one more extra un-numbered engraved plate than is called for in the ‘Descriptions of the Embellishments’).