A Lost Sheep Found! ~ Bringing It Back to Chawton House…

Some excellent news for all you GLOSS followers and contributors. A Lost Sheep has been found at auction, won at the bidding, and now returned to the fold at the Library at Chawton House!

The Story:

A book showed up at the auction house of Dominic Winter in the UK – it was described as having the Montagu George Knight bookplate on the front endpaper. A check of the spreadsheet and the Reading with Austen website found the book listed in the 1818 catalogue of Edward Austen’s Godmersham Park Library – all very exciting. After raising a few funds we bid on the book and thankfully, it stayed just below our limit – it is now back where it came from… Huzzah!

The Book:

Hanway, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea: with the author’s journal of travels from England through Russia into Persia, and back through Russia, Germany and Holland. To which are added, the revolutions of Russia, during the present Century, with the particular history of the great usurper Nadir Kouli, 2 volumes, 2nd ed, London: 1754. Volume 2 is titled The Revolutions of Persia.

Two engraved frontispieces, nine folding engraved maps, 17 engraved plates, some light spotting and offsetting, circular armorial bookplates of Montagu George Knight of Chawton (1844-1914), contemporary sprinkled calf gilt, wear to two spine labels, a little rubbed and scuffed, 4to

Estimate: £300 – £400 – sold for £560 + buyer’s premium and fees.

Here are some images, soon to be posted on the website:

The Author:

A look at wikipedia’s brief life of Hanway reveals some interesting bits about this man, whose book has given us GLOSSers such a feeling of success:

Jonas Hanway, by James Northcote, c1785

Jonas Hanway (1712-1786) was born in Portsmouth, but moved to London after the death of his father. He was apprenticed to a merchant in Lisbon at the age of 17, later partnering with a merchant in St. Petersburg. This led to his extensive travels in Russia and Persia and the Caspian Sea, and later through Germany and the Netherlands and back to England. The rest of his life was mostly spent in London, where the narrative of his travels (published in 1753) soon made him a man of note. His other writings (seventy-four in total) were largely pamphlets of a society-improvement campaigning sort.

Known as a philanthropist and involved citizen, Hanway founded The Marine Society; he became a governor and later president of the Foundling Hospital; he was instrumental in establishing the Magdalen Hospital; he procured a better system of parochial birth registration in London; and he was appointed a commissioner for victualling the navy.

He died, unmarried, in 1786 and was buried in the crypt at St. Mary’s Church, Hanwell. A monument to his memory, sculpted by John Francis Moore was erected in Westminster Abbey in 1786.

Of interest to those of us who love tidbits of social history, Hanway was the first male Londoner, it is said, to carry an umbrella (women had been using them since 1705 – now there’s a blog post!) and was often challenged by hooting hackney coachmen. He was opposed to tipping, had controversial engagements with Johnson and Goldsmith over tea-drinking of all things, supported solitary confinement and proper care for prisoners,  and he worked on behalf of chimney-sweeps. What’s not to like about this fellow?!

AND, he wrote this book that one of the earlier Knights wanted in their library (was it Thomas or Edward we cannot know…)

If you want to know more about our umbrella-carrying author, here is a place to start: Roland Everett Jayne, Jonas Hanway: Philanthropist, Politician, and Author (1712–1786). London: Epworth Press, J. Alfred Sharp, 1929.

Shall end with this grand image and link to an Atlas Obscura essay all about Hanway and his umbrella:

(Original Caption) The First Umbrella–Mr. Jonas Hanway Walking Out In A Shower.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-public-shaming-of-englands-first-umbrella-user

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A hearty Thank You to all who contributed to our book-detective adventure!

Alas! – still so many more Lost Sheep to be found…please keep your eyes peeled, and any contributions to the cause would be greatly appreciated!

c2019 Reading with Austen blog

WANTED! ~ Books with Montagu George Knight Bookplates

Calling all Booksellers, Librarians, Bibliophiles

Wanted !

The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society*

Cordially invites you to join in the

Global Search

For all books bearing

Montagu George Knight bookplates**

Please help us return these books to the fold

at the

Library at Chawton House, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, UK

* The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS) is a research group of scholars and bibliophiles searching for all books that were originally in the libraries of Godmersham Park and later Chawton House, both estates of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight.

**The three Knight bookplates were all designed by Charles Sherborn in 1900 / 1901:

Bookplate 1

Bookplate 2

 

Bookplate 3

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We note here that there are also the bookplates of Thomas Knight (1701-1781) and Edward Knight (1767-1852) and his son, also named Edward (1794-1879) – it is unclear if the bookplate was father or son’s, or if they both used the same bookplate – these bookplates are also to be found in some of the Godmersham library books, so we are searching for these as well, especially if they are listed in the original 1818 catalogue:

 

Thomas Knight bookplate

 

Edward Knight bookplate

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1.  The History:  

Edward Austen Knight inherited three estates from his adoptive family the Thomas Knights: Godmersham Park in Kent, and Chawton House and Steventon in Hampshire. Godmersham and Chawton had large extensive libraries typical of the gentry of the time. Edward had a catalogue of the Godmersham Library compiled in 1818, listing about 1250 titles. These books were later combined with the Chawton House Library when Godmersham was sold in 1874, with many of the volumes sold or otherwise distributed over the years. [Montagu George Knight, grandson of Edward Knight, placed his bookplates in most of the books of this combined library, as well as in the books he added to it. The remaining library (called the “Knight Collection” and still in the family) is now housed at Chawton House Library, which serves as an important literary heritage site and a center for the study of early women writers]. We know Jane Austen spent a considerable amount of time in both these libraries – and an ongoing project has been to try to locate the missing volumes that have wandered away and might still be extant in libraries, in book collectors’ homes, or on bookseller shelves – the “Lost Sheep” of Godmersham Park.

2. The Digital Godmersham Project:

Initiated and run by Professor Peter Sabor (Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Director of the Burney Centre at McGill University), this is a web-based open-source project that will include the Knight family books that are recorded in the catalogue of 1818, as they were on the shelves – a virtual library so to speak. You can visit the Reading with Austen website here; phase I of the project launched in 2018, the bicentenary of the original catalogue. While it would be a final goal to locate all the missing titles that are out there, this digital project will create for us what Jane Austen would have seen and read when visiting her brother.

3. What we need:

If you have or locate any books with any of the three Montagu George Knight bookplates, or the Thomas or Edward Knight bookplates, please contact us – we would like good pictures of:

a.) the binding/cover;

b.) the inside cover of the book, where Montagu Knight’s bookplate should be attached, often together with a small shelf ticket from Chawton House Library; and

c.) the title page of the book;

d.) any marginalia

These images would be used on the website, with or without your name as the book’s current owner/location (this is up to you).

4. Donation / sell options:

Some of those found thus far have been privately purchased and donated back to the Library at Chawton House (they do not have funds for this project). If you would like to “return” the book to Chawton to be part of their permanent collection, you would become one of GLOSS’s Team Heroes and we would be forever grateful. All donations are tax-deductible. Or, if you would consider selling the book back to CH now or in the future (or making a donation to the cause so we can purchase books as they become available – you can do that at the “North American Friends of Chawton House” website), we would add it to our wish-list of purchases and ask that you send the pictures noted above so it can be added to the website. Progress is slow, and because every book may not be able to return home, we hope this virtual library will serve as a useful research tool for future studies of reading habits in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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[CHL book with bookplate and shelf ticket]

Thank you for any help you can offer! 

For more information, please contact one of us:  

  1. Deborah Barnum – Board Member, North American Friends of Chawton House Library: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com
  2. Peter Sabor – Professor, Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Director of the Burney Centre, McGill University: peter.sabor [at] mcgill.ca
c2019, Reading with Austen blog