Austen and Shakespeare: A Godmersham Lost Sheep Found at Home with Shakespeare

It is always (to me!) an interesting story how a Lost Sheep gets found – or at least any book detective out there would so describe the thrill of locating a book considered lost to eternity in some auction sale or a the stacks of a library or in someone’s private collection. And such discoveries are often serendipitous – the right place, the right time, or a click of a keyboard and Oh Wow! Look at this!

One of our most exciting finds happened in such a way recently. Though I continue to search library catalogues of colleges and universities and institutions, knowing full well that the provenance of a Knight bookplate might not even be recorded, it is always sheer luck to stumble on one when doing something else entirely…so here’s the story:

One of my book groups was reading Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell (fabulous book if you have not read it…), and I was doing some research on the fact vs. fiction questions the book raises. And internet surfing brought me to various Shakespeare-related sites – the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust  a treasure trove of information and many images. My Reading with Austen hat is always on and realized I had never searched their library for the Knight bookplates (I search for Chawton, Godmersham, Montagu, Edward, Knight, etc. – and find often that Montagu is misspelled, or he is referred to as “Montagu George, Knight of Chawton,” etc. – these provenance errors complicate searching!) – and the miracle of online catalogue searching brought up a book in their collection with the MGK bookplate! A check in the Reading with Austen catalogue shows this exact title as listed in the 1818 Godmersham catalogue, and with the “copy not yet found” note [images are to be shortly added]: a book by Philip Miller titled The Gardeners Kalendar (1732).

[Here is the link to the SBT catalogue. ]

Eureka! Problem at the time was the SBT was closed, so I waited until they opened to request images – they were as excited as we were to find this Lost Sheep on their very own shelves. There is something comforting about a Jane Austen-related book finding itself at Shakespeare’s birthplace – even Jane (Shakespeare fan that she was) might appreciate this turn of events. We cannot have it back at Chawton House, but this is certainly the next best thing…a Lost Sheep found, and surrounded in Shakespeare no less!

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

We appreciate very much the Library staff at the SBT copying all the images we need for the website. Here are the details with some information about the book and the author. Can we imagine Austen consulting this very Kalendar at various times during her gardening year?

Philip Miller. The gardeners kalendar, directing what works are necessary to be done every month, in the kitchen, fruit, and pleasure gardens, and in the conservatory. With An Account of the particular seasons for the Propagation and Use of all Sorts of Esculent Plants and Fruits proper for the Table, and of all Sorts of Flowers, Plants, and Trees, that flower in every Month. By Philip Miller, Gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries, at their Botanick Garden in Chelsea, and F. R. S.

London: printed for the author, and sold by C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, M.DCC.XXXII. [1732]

xv,[1],252,[4]p.,plate ; 8⁰.

With two final leaves of advertisements.
Montagu George Knight, 1844-1914, former owner.
Knight’s bookplate pasted inside front of book.

This book has the least common of the MGK bookplates:

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Philip Miller (1691-1771) was the most well-known of the horticultural writers of the eighteenth-century. He began in London as a florist, grower of ornamental shrubs, and garden designer. It was all the doing of Sir Hans Sloane, who became landlord of the land in Chelsea in 1712 that had been leased to the Society of Apothecaries for their physic garden. In 1722 Sloane transferred it permanently to the Society and recommended that Miller be appointed head gardener – he held this position until shortly before his death in 1771. The Chelsea Physic Garden developed under Miller’s hand into the most richly stocked of any mid-18th century garden, his work there the basis of Miller’s several gardening publications.  [You can read about its history here: https://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/about/history/ ]. It was “largely through [Miller’s] skill as a grower and propagator and his extensive correspondence, the Chelsea botanic garden belonging to the Society of Apothecaries of London became famous throughout Europe and the North American colonies for its wealth of plants, which was continuously enriched by new introductions, notably from the West Indies, Mexico, eastern North America, and Europe.”1

Miller is most known for his The Gardener’s and Florists Dictionary or a Complete System of Horticulture (1724) and The Gardener’s Dictionary containing the Methods of Cultivating and Improving the Kitchen Fruit and Flower Garden, which first appeared in 1731 in a folio and went through eight revised editions in his lifetime. There is much information on Miller’s use of the classifications of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort and John Ray, rather than those of Carl Linnaeus – but he later embraced the Linnaeus nomenclature in his Dictionary of 1768. But I shall avoid this discussion and send you to the resources below if you have any interest in botanical history and the naming of plants.

Since this is September, here’s a page sample for what you should be doing in your Kitchen Garden [this is from the 1737 4th ed. at HathiTrust] – it’s all about your cauliflower – there are succeeding entries for work to be done in the Fruit Garden, the Flower Garden, the Pleasure Garden, and the Greenhouse and Stove. You shall be very busy!

You can see the complete text of The Gardeners Kalendar here:

the 1732 1st edition at Google Books: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Gardiners_Kalendar_Directing_what_Wo/O5xgAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

and the 1737 4th edition at HathiTrust:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101037690227&view=1up&seq=11

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One interesting bit is that it was Philip Miller who sent the first long-strand cotton seeds, which he had developed, to the new British colony of Georgia in 1733. They were first planted on Sea Island, off the coast of Georgia, and hence derived the name of the finest cotton, Sea Island Cotton. [There is inconsistent information on this – you can read the Stephens article cited below for a full account.] But this adds to the whole picture of Miller’s hand in propagation not only in England but also in the colonies – and we all know that cultivation of cotton sustained one part of the Triangular Trade and perpetuated the slave trade and system of slavery in order to produce and transport to England as much of this cotton product as possible. This too is another story – but all things connect as anyone trying to research the simplest thing knows – a Godmersham book found at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, written by a man who had a hand in the development of cotton in the colonies which sustained the slave trade, which then of course leads us to Mansfield Park…and really what was Jane Austen’s “dead silence” all about…

What a digression!

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Though Miller’s most well-known books (noted above), available in many editions through the years, are not listed in the 1818 catalogue, there is one other Philip Miller book in the Godmersham collection, also in the 1908 Chawton library, and this is still a Lost Sheep:

Figures Of the most Beautiful, Useful, and Uncommon Plants described in The Gardeners Dictionary, exhibited on Three Hundred Copper Plates, Accurately Engraven after Drawings taken from Nature. With The Characters of their Flowers and Seed-Vessels, Drawn when they were in their greatest Perfection. To which are added, Their Descriptions, and an Account of the Classes to which they belong, according to Ray’s, Tournefort’s, and Linnæus’s Method of Classing them. By Philip Miller, F.R.S. Member of the Botanic Academy at Florence, and Gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries at their Botanic Garden at Chelsea. In Two Volumes.

London: Printed for the Author; And Sold by John Rivington in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, A. Millar, H. Woodfall, J. Whiston and B. White, J. Hinton, G. Hawkins, R. Baldwin, J. Richardson, W. Johnston, S. Crowder, P. Davey and B. Law, T. Caslon, and R. and J. Dodsley, 1760.

According to a Sotheby’s sale catalogue, the 300 plates of various plants were drawn by Richard Lancake and two of the leading botanical artists and engravers of the period, Georg Dionysius Ehret and Johann Sebastian Miller (formerly Müller). The work was published by subscription in 50 monthly parts, with each part containing 6 plates, between 25 March 1755 and 30 June 1760. Two later editions were published in 1771 and 1809. It sold in 2017 for £12,500 and there are several currently online listed from $14,000 to $37,000 – but alas and sigh, none of them mention an MGK bookplate, and we can expect if this copy ever does show up, it will be far beyond our pocketbook.

You can see a full text (1771 ed.) of this gorgeous book here: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015063465242&view=1up&seq=5&skin=2021

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And again, our hearty thanks to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for 1.) having this book on their shelves; and 2.) their generosity in providing the images for the website. One more Lost Sheep found is a very comforting thing, and I suppose we have Maggie O’Farrell and her Hamnet to thank for this whole book detective episode!

Resources:

1. See “Miller, Philip” in the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

Other resources on Miller:

Hazel Le Rougetel, “Gardener Extraordinary; Philip Miller of Chelsea, 1691–1771.” Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 96 (1971): 556–63.

_____. The Chelsea Gardener, Phililp Miller 1691-1771. London: Natural History Museum, 1990.

W. T. Steam, “Philip Miller and the Plants from the Chelsea Physic Garden Presented to the Royal Society of London, 1723–1796.” Botanical Society of Edinburgh Transactions 41 (1972): 293–307.

S. G. Stephens. “The Origin of Sea Island Cotton.” Agricultural History 50.2 (1976): 391-99.

©2021, Reading with Austen blog

A Lost Sheep Returned! Saint-Simon’s “Memoirs of the Reign of Louis XIV”

Great news all! Our GLOSS team has been successful in locating and returning another title [Memoirs of Saint-Simon] formerly housed in Edward Austen Knight’s Godmersham Park library! It has the Montagu George Knight bookplate and the shelf ticket from the library. Purchased at Arenberg Auctions in Brussels (yours truly happily won the bidding, despite the entire auction being conducted in French!), it is now safe and sound in the Chawton House library collection:

Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy duc de. Mémoires de monsieur le duc de S. Simon, ou L’observateur véridique, sur le règne de Louis XIV, & sur les premières époques des règnes suivans. Londres ; et se trouve à Paris, Buisson ; Marseille, Jean Mossy, 1788.

[Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy duke of. Memoirs of Monsieur le Duc de S. Simon, or The Truthful Observer, on the reign of Louis XIV, and on the first periods of the following reigns].

This is the first substantial edition of these famous Mémoires, the complete edition of which will not appear until 1829-1831. Without the suppl. printed in 1789.

Portrait of Louis de Rouvroy, duke of Saint-Simon, knight of the King of France’s Orders in 1728. By Jean-Baptiste van Loo. Private collection (Le Mallier, matrilineal heirs to the last duke of Saint-Simon, castle of Chasnay), reproduction after a photograph of the original painting [Wikipedia]

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon was born in Paris in 1675, son of the first duke Claude de Rouvroy (1608–1693) and Charlotte de L’Aubespine, daughter of François, marquis de Hauterive by his wife, Eléonore de Volvire, marquise de Ruffec. King Louis XIII appointed Claude a Master of Wolfhounds and granted him a dukedom in 1635 [the title’s name refers to the seigneury that was held by the Rouvroy family at Saint-Simon in Aisne]. Louis’s godparents were Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse.

In 1695 Louis married Marie-Gabrielle de Durfort, daughter of Guy Aldonce Durfort, Duke of Lorges; they had three children. The dukedom passed from father to son Louis in 1693; he was the second and last holder of the title, since his two sons predeceased him.

The Blason famille de Saint-Simon []]wikipedia

The Memoires:

Louis’s memoirs are a classic of French literature, wherein Louis gives a full and lively account of the court of Versailles of Louis XIV, “The Sun King,” and the beginnings of the Regency of Louis XV. [Do not let all these Louis’s confuse you – it is part and parcel of French history and cannot be avoided…she says confusedly]

 “In the Memoirs, Saint-Simon’s observations allowed him to describe vividly both the elegance and the corruption of the court of Versailles. Despite some errors of fact and interpretation, his knowledge of history made him aware of the breakdown of traditional checks and balances that underlay Louis XIV’s royal absolutism and which was to lead, in the next century, to the French Revolution. Saint-Simon’s intensely written accounts of court intrigues and such events as the deaths of the Grand Dauphin, the Duke of Burgundy, and Louis XIV himself—as well as his incisive word portraits of his fellow courtiers—make him perhaps the world’s greatest writer on the prestige, the ambitions, the uncertainties, and the ironies of public life. He completed his Memoirs in 1752.”

[From: https://biography.yourdictionary.com/duc-de-saint-simon]

When Saint-Simon died in Paris in March 1755, mostly in debt and out of favor, all his possessions, including his writings, were seized by the Crown. According to Wikipedia, these Mémoires were kept under sequestration and only circulated through private copies and excerpts until the restitution of the manuscript to his heirs in 1828.”

You can read here a full account of the many editions of the Memoires in this 2011 essay [also in French!]

Memoires, vol. 1 title page

What is apparent is that this 3-volume set from the Godmersham Park was a collection of extracts, published long before the complete editions began to appear beginning in 1828.

The full-text of the complete Memoirs is here at Gutenberg.org (it’s a commitment!): https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3875/3875-h/3875-h.htm

You can read more about Saint-Simon here:

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Who was Louis XIV? [recalling 10th grade world history perhaps?]

Image: Louis XIV [wikipedia]

For information on Louis XIV, you can follow this rather delightful:
“A Day in the Life of Louis XIV.”

And read this shorter-than-the-Memoirs-version about Louis XIV here: “Portrait of the Sun King: From the Writings of Louis de Saint-Simon, Giovanni Battista Primi Visconti, and Ezechiel von Spanheim”: https://pages.uoregon.edu/dluebke/WesternCiv102/Saint-Simon.pdf

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Louis-Philippe I, King of the French, by Winterhalter [wikipedia]

Did Jane Austen ever comment on Louis XIV? – she had much to say in her History of England about the British monarchs, but she made only a passing reference to the Duke and Duchess of Orléans and the D’Entraigues in her letters [and one tiny reference to Louis XIV – see below]. Members of the French royal family who has sought refuge in England during the tumultuous revolution in France, Louis-Phillipe (1773-1840) and his wife Marie-Amélie (1782-1866) [she was the niece of Marie Antoinette] lived in England for part of their exile. Returning to France during the Bourbon Restoration, Louis-Philippe was chosen as King of the French and reigned from 1830-1848. They returned to England in 1848 after his abdication [following the history of France and its monarchy is a chaotic exercise, so only here mentioning this Louis-Philippe because Jane Austen did]:

In September of 1816, Cassandra is visiting Cheltenham (where she and Jane had visited in May), and Jane writes:

Image:
Lesley-Anne McLeodhttp://lesleyannemcleod.blogspot.com/2011/06/cheltenham-notable-spa.html

“The Duchess of Orleans, the paper says, drinks at my Pump.” [Ltr. 144, Sept 1816]. And a few days later she writes again:

“So, you have C. Craven [Charlotte Craven] among you, as well as the Duke of Orleans & Mr. Pococke. But it mortifies me that you have not added one to the stock of common acquaintance. Do pray meet with somebody belonging to yourself. – I am quite weary of your knowing nobody.” [Ltr. 145, Sept 1816]

Austen also refers to the D’Entraigues & Comte Julien in April 1811:

“…[they] cannot come to the Party – which was at first a greif, but…their not coming has produced our going to them tomorrow Even’g, which I like the idea of. It will be amusing to see the ways of a French circle.”

And later,

“Eliza caught her cold on Sunday in our way to the D’Entraigues…Eliza enjoyed her even’g very much & means to cultivate the acquaintance – & I see nothing to dislike in them, but their taking quantitites of snuff. – Monsieur the old Count, is a very fine looking man, with quiet manners, good enough for an Englishman – & I believe is a Man of great Information & Taste. He has some fine paintings, which delighted Henry as much as the Son’s music gratified Eliza – & among them, a miniature of Philip 5. of Spain, Louis 14.s Grandson, which exactly suited my capacity. – Count Julien’s performance is very wonderful… but M. le Comte must do without Henry. If he w’d but speak English, I would take to him.” [Ltr. 71, April 1811].

Emmanuel-Louis de Launay,
comte d’Antraigues

[As an aside, because here’s a tale to tell, and Austen doesn’t mention a thing about it: the Comte Emmanuel-Louis D’Antraigues (1753-1812) was a French pamphleteer, diplomat, spy and double agent, forger, and political adventurer. He and his wife were both murdered in their London home on July 22, 1812 by their Italian servant, either for personal or political reasons, who can tell – but this is a mere one year and three months after Austen visited them…]

So, we do know that Austen certainly followed the events in France – she had after all two brothers who served in the Royal Navy, and for most of her life England was at war with France. Her knowledge of French and French history would have increased due to her close relationship with her cousin Eliza (later her brother Henry’s wife), married to a French Count who lost his head to the guillotine. Austen peppers her letters with French phrases, though not so much in the novels [for a great discussion read Joan Austen-Leigh’s account “Jane Austen: The “French Connection” in Persuasions 20 (1998): 106-18].

This happy but confusing aside into French history is to just address the question whether Jane Austen read French, the general consensus being that she did. Did she read this very book about Louis XIV? She may have, or at least we can imagine her pulling it off the shelf – South Case, column 5, shelf 1 to be exact! [see here on the Reading with Austen website [pictures soon to be added].

OR, maybe Austen just pretended to understand France and French history and the French language, à la Catherine Morland…

Regardless, this French title is now in the library at Chawton House, where it certainly belongs – kudos to all on the intrepid GLOSS team for help in getting these memoir volumes back home!

Memoires, vol. I, Montagu George Knight bookplate

©2020 Reading with Austen Blog

Finding Jane Austen’s ‘Dear Dr. Johnson’ at the Godmersham Park Library

One of the more famous quotes giving us some insight into Jane Austen was by her brother Henry Austen in his “Biographical Notice of the Author” (1817), which prefaced the posthumous publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in 1818:

“Her reading was very extensive in history and belles lettres; and her memory extremely tenacious. Her favourite moral writers were [Samuel] Johnson in prose, and [William] Cowper in verse. It is difficult to say at what age she was not intimately acquainted with the merits and defects of the best essays and novels in the English language.” [Biographical Notice, 1817]

And ever since, much has been made of both these writers, scholars mining Austen’s works to find any possible allusion to either.

Samuel Johnson

Today I am going to deal with Samuel Johnson (see here for the Cowper volume we are hoping to return to Chawton). It is interesting to see which of his works or works about him are in the 1818 catalogue of Edward Austen’s Godmersham Park Library [GPL], and interesting to see the many that are not, Rasselas for example.

If we look at Austen’s letters, we find several references to Johnson: in November of 1798 she writes to Cassandra: “We have got Boswell’s ‘Tour to the Hebrides’, and are to have his ‘Life of Johnson’; and, as some money will yet remain in Burdon’s [a bookseller] hands, it is to be laid out in the purchase of Cowper’s works.” [Ltr. 12, Le Faye].

Boswell’s The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785) was published as an accompaniment to Johnson’s own 1775 publication Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), both chronicling their trip together to Scotland in 1773. Boswell’s Life of Johnson was published in 1791. These two works that Austen mentions would be added to the family library at Steventon; so one wonders if when Mr. Austen moved the family to Bath in 1800, just two years later, were these books sold as part of his library of 500 books? And did Edward have either in his Godmersham Library? – The 1st edition of Boswell’s Life is listed and is unfortunately a Lost Sheep – interesting to note that it is listed in the typewritten 1908 catalogue, but is crossed out in two places. Boswell’s Tour is not noted in the GPL catalogue at all, but Johnson’s Journey is (see below – we found it in the archives of Amherst!).


In Letter 50 (February 8-9, 1807), Austen writes to Cassandra at Godmersham from Southampton:

“I flatter myself I have constructed you a Smartish Letter, considering my want of Materials. But like my dear Dr. Johnson, I believe I have dealt more in Notions than Facts.”

She is referring here to Johnson’s letter to Boswell of 4 July 1774, which reads:

“I WISH you could have looked over my book before the printer, but it could not easily be. I suspect some mistakes; but as I deal, perhaps, more in notions than in facts, the matter is not great, and the second edition will be mended, if any such there be. The press will go on slowly for a time, because I am going into Wales to-morrow.” [Life of Johnson, ii, 279].

In November 1807, Austen again writes of Cowper and Johnson. She is speaking of Henry’s manservant William: I am glad William’s going is voluntary, & on no worse grounds. An inclination for the country is a venial fault. – He has more of Cowper than of Johnson in him, fonder of Tame Hares & Blank Verse than of the full tide of human Existence at Charing Cross.” [Ltr. 95, Le Faye; referring to a Cowper poem and a Johnson letter in Boswell’s Life].

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Looking now at the 1818 GPL catalogue we find several Johnsons, Boswell’s Life, and two works about Johnson by Hester Thrale Piozzi, and one other travel work by her: these are the titles listed [please note which are extant in the collection and which are the Lost Sheep (most of them) that we continue to search for]:

Samuel Johnson:

1. The Idler. In two volumes. London: Printed for J. Newberry, 1761. 1st ed.

In the Knight Collection.
Read it online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100258735

2. The Rambler. In four volumes. London: Printed for A. Millar, in the Strand; J. Hodges; J. And J. Rivington; R. Baldwin; and B. Collins, 1756. 1st ed. 4 vols.

In the Knight Collection; missing vol. 1
Read online: various editions are available.

3. The Adventurer. London: Printed for C. Hitch, and L. Hawes, J. Payne, and R. Baldwin;LivesEnglishPoetsTP1781-wp and R. and J. Dodsley, 1756. 3rd ed. 4 vols.

In the Knight Collection.
Read it online: https://books.google.ca/books?id=DxFfuQEACAAJ

4. The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets; with critical observations on their works. By Samuel Johnson. In four volumes. London: Printed for C. Bathurst, J. Buckland, W. Strahan, J. Rivington and Sons, T. Davies, 1781. 1st ed.

A Lost Sheep
Read it online: https://books.google.com/books?vid=V9YNAAAAQAAJ


5. A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland.
London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell in the Strand, 1775. 1st ed.

Found! Amherst College, Archives and Special Collections
Read online: https://books.google.ca/books?id=mpoHAAAAQAAJ

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 There are two of Johnson’s Dictionaries in listed in the 1818 catalogue, with some discrepancies in description. According to the Reading with Austen website, neither have been located: 

6. A Dictionary of the English Language: in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed a history of the language and an English grammar. By Samuel Johnson, LL. D. In two volumes. The tenth edition, corrected and revised. London, 1810.

A Lost Sheep 

7. A Dictionary of the English Language: in which The Words are deduced from their Originals, and Illustrated in their Different Significations by Examples from the best Writers. To which are prefixed, A History of the Language, and An English Grammar. By Samuel Johnson, A. M. In Two Volumes. London: Printed by W. Strahan, For J. and P. Knapton; T. and T. Longman; C. Hitch and L. Hawes; A. Millar; and R. and J. Dodsley, 1755.

A Lost Sheep
Read online:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=ucm.5326809190;view=1up;seq=7

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One book by James Boswell:

James Boswell, by Joshua Reynolds

1. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. comprehending an account of his studies and numerous works, in chronological order …. London: Printed by Henry Baldwin, for Charles Dilly, 1791. 1st ed. 2 vol.

A Lost Sheep
Read online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008459343

boswell-Life-1791-tp-pitt

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Books by Hester Thrale Piozzi:

Hester Thrale Piozzi

Austen was familiar with Piozzi’s works on Johnson. In June 1799, she writes to Cassandra: So much for Mrs. Piozzi. – I had some thoughts of writing the whole of my letter in her stile, but I beleive I shall not.” [Ltr. 21]

And she writes again of Piozzi in a letter to Cassandra on December 9, 1808:
“But all this, as my dear Mrs. Piozzi says, is flight & fancy & nonsense…” [Ltr. 62, Le Faye, who says this quote is “substantially accurate” from Piozzi’s Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson (1788)].

1. Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. during the last twenty years of his life. By Hesther [sic] Lynch Piozzi. London: Printed for T. Cadell in the Strand, 1786. 1st ed.

A Lost Sheep 
Read online: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hw20dy;view=1up;seq=1

2. Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. To which are added, some poems never before printed. Published from the original mss. in her possession, by Hester Lynch Piozzi. London: Printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1788. 1st ed. 2 vols.

A Lost Sheep
Read online: https://books.google.com/books?id=rOAEAAAAYAAJ

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3. Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany. By Hester Lynch Piozzi. London: Printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell in the Strand, 1789. 1st ed. 2 vols.

This title has been found! and resides in a private collection.
Read online:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002024184575;view=1up;seq=1

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So, as you can see, a good number of lost sheepif you should locate any of these Johnson-related books with any of the Knight family bookplates, please contact us here. Thank you!

c2019, Reading with Austen blog

Wanted! ~ The Godmersham Library Copy of Cowper’s Poems

This is at this moment the Godmersham Lost Sheep Society’s Holy Grail. William Cowper’s Poems. Cowper was Jane Austen’s favorite poet (or so her brother Henry tells us in his “Biographical Notice”]. It was located in the Godmersham Library in the South Case: column 1, shelf 3, and a book that Jane Austen would certainly have read there while visiting.


This title, unlike the majority of the Lost Sheep, is actually for sale – and unfortunately way beyond our collective pocketbooks – from Bernard Quaritch Ltd. of London.

Here is the description on Abebooks – see the reference to the all-important Montagu George Knight bookplate and a little bit of the history of Jane Austen and Cowper.

Cowper, William. Poems London: printed for J. Johnson 1782. [With:]_________. The Task, a Poem, in six Books To which is added An Epistle to Joseph Hill Tirocinium, or a Review of Schools, and the History of John Gilpin. London: Printed for J. Johnson 1785.

Price: $ 10,657.66 / £ 8,000

Description:
2 vols., 8vo., pp. [4], ‘vii’ [i.e. viii, misnumbered], 367, [1, errata]; [8], 359, [1, advertisement for Poems 1782], Poems with the suppressed Preface, E6 and I6 are cancels as usual, The Task with half-title (‘Poems Vol. II’); title-page to The Task shaved at foot touching the date, else good copies in contemporary tree calf, morocco spine labels; front board of volume I restored, joints rubbed in volume II, spines dry and rubbed; the Chawton copy, with the large roundel bookplate of Montagu George Knight and with the earlier Knight family shelf tickets ‘J 9 27-8’; scattered underlining or marked in the margin throughout in pencil and occasionally pen or red crayon. First edition of each volume, with the notoriously rare suppressed preface by John Newton. This copy comes from the library of Chawton House, with an early shelf label and the bookplate of Jane Austen’s great-nephew George Montagu Knight [sic]. Austen’s ‘favourite moral writers were Johnson in prose, and Cowper in verse’ (‘Biographical Notice’, Northanger Abbey), and Cowper provides the moral framework for much of her writing, is referred to or quoted in Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma, and, in particular, Mansfield Park, and mentioned several times in her letters. Jane’s father, himself a clergyman, ‘bought a copy of Cowper’s works in 1798 and Jane described him reading them aloud to the family in the evening; ten years later she bought a copy of a new edition as a present for her niece Fanny’ (David Selwyn, Jane Austen and Leisure, 1999). The Austens moved to Chawton Cottage, in the grounds of Chawton House, in 1809, after her brother Edward, who took the name of Knight, had inherited the estates of Chawton and Godmersham Park. Jane regularly used the libraries at both houses: ‘I am now alone in the Library’, she wrote to Cassandra from Godmersham, ‘Mistress of all I survey’. The present volumes appear in the 1818 Godmersham Park catalogue compiled by Edward Knight (South Case, col 1 shelf 3). It has been carefully read, and numerous passages marked, especially in the poems quoted by Austen (‘Tirocinum’, ‘The Truth’ etc.), though almost certainly not by Austen herself. They do however express the canonicity of Cowper in the Austen family and it is hard to imagine she would not have turned through the pages of this set in the library at Godmersham. The Godmersham and Chawton libraries were later merged, hence the Chawton bookplate of Austen’s great-nephew Montagu George Knight. Poems, published at the age of 50, was Cowper’s first and most important collection. The suppressed Preface by the reformed slave trader John Newton is notoriously rare. As curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, Newton for seven years was a neighbour of Cowper and became a close friend. They collaborated on Olney Hymns in 1779, Newton’s contributions including ‘Amazing Grace’. His Preface was ‘not designed to commend the Poems to which it is prefixed’, but to provide testimony to Cowper’s (and his own) religious experience. In the poems, he writes, Cowper’s ‘satire, if it may be called so, is benevolent dictated by a just regard for the honour of God, an indignant grief excited by the profligacy of the age, and a tender compassion for the souls of men He aims to communicate his own perceptions of the truth, beauty, and influence of the religion of the Bible. A religion, which alone can relieve the mind of man from painful and unavoidable anxieties’. The publisher, no doubt rightly, was alarmed that such an evangelical Preface might prejudice the sale of the book, and, with Cowper’s reluctant consent, withdrew it a week before publication. The Task was written at the suggestion of Cowper’s friend and neighbour Lady Austen (no relation). She had encouraged him to attempt blank verse, and he agreed provided that she would supply the subject. ‘O’, she replied, ‘you can never be in want of a subject: you can write upon any. Write upon this sofa!’ And so he did, hence the wry title, Bookseller Inventory # E4430.1

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If you would like to contribute to the Lost Sheep Fund and help in facilitating the return of this book, we would be most grateful – and you will become one of the esteemed members of our community of GLOSSers. Please contact us here for more information.

Images: Abebooks and the RwA website, courtesy of Bernard Quaritch, Ltd.

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