Join Our Mailing List

+44 (0) 1590 624 455

Harcourt-Smith, Simon

The last of Uptake or the estranged sisters. Illustrated by Rex Whistler.

London, B.T.Batsford Ltd nd (1942 ?).

Reference: 13641
Price: £55 [convert currency]

Full Description

4to. 80pp, 22 text ills by Rex Whistler (2 colour, some full-page). Publisher’s cloth, in dustwrapper also designed by Whistler (the dustwrapper with loss at head of spine, and slightly defective at foot of spine and at top outer corners, also with tear to upper cover of wrapper). Gavin Stamp’s copy, with his bookplate.

First edition. A short story recounting with acerbic wit, and appropriate accompanying illustrations by Rex Whistler, the last days of Uptake, a fictional eighteenth century country house of the grandest kind, occupied by two elderly aristocratic sisters and by their even older servants. Although the dustwrapper describes the author as having written “an architectural fantasy”, the narrative centres on its splendid but decaying gardens, complete with grotto, pavilions, pyramid, and statues, and presided over by the book’s most fully developed character, a head gardener named (presciently ?) Titmarsh, uninterested in bedding plants, but kept motivated by his hot house, by his memories of the Boboli Gardens in Florence, and by Uptake’s extensive range of garden automata.