Grandson and last proprietor of the family publishing firm, here are 7 of Richard Bentley’s personal copies of his own books together with publishing memorabilia that stayed with him.
Richard Bentley (1854-1936) was grandson and the last proprietor of the family publishing firm that carried his name, running it from 1893 until its dissolution in 1898. The earliest item here which dates from 1886 (Reprinted from ‘Le Livre’) was a promotional item about the firm which was intended for clients; the later imprints all form part of Bentley’s efforts to record his family’s history in publishing and wider concerns.
Most interesting is Bentley’s heavily extra-illustrated copy of Some Leaves from the Past which also adds extensive manuscript notes to the biography of his grandfather, Richard Bentley, who went into business as publisher in 1819. With additional material inserted throughout. Alongside the family history imprints Bentley has retained two ephemeral items - a promotional pencil with company name in gilt and a metal stamp. Most of the company papers are held at UCLA. DNB sums up the first Richard Bentley's ‘major contributions to nineteenth-century publishing are the Standard Novels — freshly revised texts of major contemporary authors made affordable for the middle class; Bentley's Miscellany and Temple Bar; the quality of his author list and of his book manufacture; his introduction of high-calibre international writers to British readers; and his founding of a family publishing firm that lasted through two further generations.’
This collection comprises:
1 Richard Bentley, Some Leaves from the Past Swept Together by R.B., 1896, Privately Printed - extra-illustrated and annotated throughout by Bentley himself, often in fascinating detail, shedding new light on the dynasty of Bentley publishers. Viii, pp184, 4 plates; 1 detached.
2 Richard Bentley, Thomas Bentley 1730-1780 of Liverpool, Etruria, and London. 1/75 copies printed at Guildford, 1927
3 Richard Bentley, Walter Bentley, Viceroy of Brittany, 1910, Guildford, printed wraps
4 Richard Bentley, John Bentley, Knight, Vice-Admiral of the White 1/75 copies printed at Guildford, 1921
5 [Richard Bentley], The Will of Thomas Bentley, M.D. 1913, Guildford, printed wraps
6 [Richard Bentley] A Brief note upon the Battles of Saintes and Mauron, 1/100 copies printed at Guildford, 1918
7 Richard Bentley & Son, Reprinted from ‘Le Livre’ with some Additional Notes, July 1886, Edinburgh, 1/250 copies ‘For Private Distribution only No….’ limitation statement left blank. Printed by R & R Clark, pp40
8 Richard Bentley - Promotional pencil, 39cmx3cm
9 ‘BENTLEY’ steel punch, 13cm in length, letters 5x1cm, probably for stamping packing cases containing Bentley’s books.