Sorrows. Sacred to the Memory of Penelope. Brooke BOOTHBY.
Sorrows. Sacred to the Memory of Penelope.

Sorrows. Sacred to the Memory of Penelope.

London: W.Bulmer and Co., 1796.

Folio, stipple engraved frontispiece and engravings in text; a charming copy in half dark green morocco, marbled boards, armorial bookplates for Frances Mary Richardson Currer and Mathew Wilson, contemporary ink ownership signature of 'M R Currer' on half title.

From the library of Frances Mary Currer

Attractive copy of this eulogy to the young Penelope Boothby, who died in 1791 despite being treated by Erasmus Darwin, from the collection of the great female book collector Frances Mary Richardson Currer.

Attractive copy of this eulogy to the young Penelope Boothby, who died in 1791 despite being treated by Erasmus Darwin, from the collection of the great female book collector Frances Mary Richardson Currer.

The Penelope of the title was the daughter of the author, Sir Brooke Boothby of Ashbourne Hall in Derbyshire. Boothby was a prominent figure of Georgian England, a poet, writer and amateur botanist who worked with Erasmus Darwin, among other figures. Young Penelope had had her portrait done by both Jacques-Louis David in Paris and by Sir Joshua Reynolds in London, but fell ill with what appears to have been encephalitis and died in March 1791. The Boothbys commissioned a sculpture by Thomas Banks and a painting by Henry Fuseli to commemorate their daughter, and both artworks are depicted in the engravings which accompany this text, Fuseli's "Apotheosis of Penelope Boothby" the basis for the striking frontispiece. Boothby called this work, a collection of his sonnets, a 'frail monument' to one loved 'not wisely but too well' ('To the reader').

The book was at one time in the collection of one of the greatest female book collectors, Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), with her bookplate and signature. Currer was born in 1785 in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and was the daughter and sole heir of the Reverend Henry Richardson (1758-1784) who, shortly before his death, took the name of Currer on succeeding to the estates of Sarah Currer. Her mother was Margaret Clive Wilson, the only surviving child and heir of Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall (whose bookplate is also present in the book). She inherited both estates which put her in possession of a very large and valuable library and she went on to become one of England's earliest female bibliophiles. Currer has an interesting association with the Brontë sisters, as she was a supporter of the Keighley Mechanics' Institution and the new school at Cowan Bridge, attended by the Brontës. It is probable that she was the 'wealthy lady in the West Riding of Yorkshire' who gave £50 in 1821 to help pay the debts of the newly widowed Patrick Brontë (Barker, 105). Charlotte Brontë used her surname for her pseudonym, Currer Bell.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; ; James Ford Bell; JCB.

Price (AUD): $1,400.00  other currencies     Ref: #4102406