Dear Friend,
Shakespeare looms large at Firsts - London's Rare Book Fair - later this week, and our 1598 letter from Bill's theatrical patron, the Lord Chamberlain, to a Tudor stage-player gets you very close to the Bard.
At Stand F41 on the First Floor we'll be happy to share with you Jonathan Swift's annotations, the Duchess of Cumberland's lockable memorandum book, and a fabulous album of watercolours by Dorset's answer to Audubon. Do let us know if you need a ticket.
Best wishes,


Warrant sent to the Elizabethan actor Laurence Dutton by Shakespeare’s patron, Lord Chamberlain ‘George Hunsdon’ - a remarkable document that brings together a known stage player and William Shakespeare’s most important patron. Small foolscap paper (30x20cm), vertical chainlines and a jug-style watermark containing the initials ‘NB’. 17 lines of text followed by the signature of ‘G Hunsdon’ with his seal below and ‘Ro: North’ and the mark where his seal was added but has since come away. At the…… Read more


EARLY COPIES OF JONATHAN SWIFT’S RIBALD ANNOTATIONS Memoirs of the Secret Services of John Macky, Esq — John Macky [Jonathan Swift] — 1733

A richly provenanced volume with 18th century copies of Jonathan Swift’s acerbic annotations made in response to Macky’s characters of the great and good. Small octavo in polished calf with marbled endpapers. Collates [8] lvi, p254, xviii, [pp] 8. As noted in one of the provenance remarks on the book, it has been damaged in a fire and every single leaf has then had the lower, outer corner painstakingly repaired. A crisp, attractive copy. PROVENANCE Annotated to second flyleaf: ‘The M.S.S. Notes…… Read more


UNRECORDED EDUCATIONAL BROADSIDE Cotemporary [sic] Potentates during the Several Reigns of the Sovereigns of England — [Unknown] — 1790

Unrecorded broadside, probably educational in design, comparing the reigns of English and European ‘potentates’ from the 790s to the 1790s. A single folded sheet (40x51cm), vertical chainlines, lightly spotted and ‘Price Sixpence’ printed beneath the grid of rulers and their reigns. The earliest recorded date is AD 768 and the most recent, 1790 with the accession of Leopold II of Germany. Printed on one side only; printer unidentified. We can find no record of this or similar imprint.… Read more


1790s MONMOUTH IMPRINTS Descriptive Account of Tintern Abbey (1793) Descriptive Accounts of Persfield and Chepstow (1793) A Descriptive Account of Ragland Castle (1792) Nine Letters on Prisons and Prisoners — Charles Heath (Monmouth) Josiah Dornford — 1792

The earliest book printed by Monmouth’s radical printer Charles Heath (no copies in the UK) bound with 2 further topographical works from the 1790s and a campaigning work on prison reform. Attractive octavo, bound in contemporary tree-calf with the backstrip relaid; marbled endpaper and cloth reinforcement to inner hinge. No suggestion of ownership, the works are bound with the prison letters coming at the end of the volume. Some foxing to Heath’s works: Descriptive Account of Tintern Abbey, vii…… Read more


THE DUKE OF CUMBERLAND’S MANUSCRIPT COPY A list of His Majesty’s Royal Navy - Navy Office, 1st October 1794 — Royal Navy — 1794

A record of the ships in Nelson’s Royal Navy from 1794-1801 with distinguished Royal provenance. Large octavo handsomely bound in Admiralty-style straight grain red morocco with elaborately gilt border incorporating stars, wreaths, and cornerpieces, spine gilt in six compartments. Marbled endpapers, engraved title page with date added in manuscript, each page with engraved headings, red-ruled lines, black and red ink, 180 pages mostly in one hand and occasional interventions from a second. The m…… Read more



Manuscript orderly book kept in Lisbon under the Command of General Cornelius Cuyler between 1st June 1799 - 9 April 1802. Octavo-sized manuscript notebook bound in reversed calf with blind embellishment; marbled endpapers. First few leaves severely affected by old dampstaining although the paper remains intact and the manuscript easily readable. The first entry notes the appointment by Harry Calvert in Whitehall of the manuscript’s main writer Major (later Colonel) H D Fraser of the 47’th Regim…… Read more



Inscribed by the author and corrected in his hand: two works by the Irish art critic and United Irishman found here bound together. The London imprint is inscribed by the author on the title page: ‘To the Earl of Warwick [George Greville] with Wm. Carey’s s respects’, adding ‘The typographic errors are noted in the margin and text. W.C.’ Bound in contemporary half red roan, spine relaid; marbled endpapers. Second gathering of the first work pulled. As promised Carey has penned half a dozen corre…… Read more


THE DUCHESS OF CUMBERLAND’S PRIVATE, LOCKABLE MEMORANDUM ALBUM — Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Duchess of Cumberland — 1815

Beautifully-bound lockable album owned by Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of George III’s fifth son, Ernst Augustus, later King and Queen of Hanover. Large quarto sized album bound in wrap-around straight grain morocco with a working lock and key, the Duchess’s English title in gilt to the binding, presumed English in origin and dating from 1815 when the couple married or shortly after. Blue silk endpapers; 201 pages of manuscript notes in several hands, probably including Frederica…… Read more


GRAND TOUR DIARY BY THOMAS MALTHUS’S BROTHER IN LAW: ‘Pocket Book for the Year 1827: Rome’ — George Eckersall — 1827

Illustrated Grand Tour manuscript diary written by Thomas Malthus’s brother in law, containing more than 100 tiny drawings and a group of verses that this Somerset gentleman wrote as ‘Captain Eckersall’ during the Napoleonic Wars. Small format (9.5x13cm) quarter green roan over marbled boards, scuffed, with Eckersall’s inscription to the upper cover. The manuscript comprises 52 double page openings, one per week for 1827; a journal that covers the second half of Eckersall’s tour to Rome and retu…… Read more


A DORSET AUDUBON? Birds, Mammals and Botanicals Painted from Specimens Collected in Dorset, Wiltshire & Hampshire — Unidentified 1840s Artist — 1840

Superbly executed collection of watercolours, made from specimens collected by a gifted artist living on the Wiltshire/ Dorset borders who had intriguing connections to ‘Mr John Austen... near Southampton’ and the 2nd Baron Rivers. Oblong folio (35x25cm) bound in half calf over green cloth covered boards, recently refurbished and with reinforcement to inner hinges. The manuscript runs to 50 pages of images with tabulated descriptions opposite giving details of the specimen pictured: Mammals, ff1…… Read more


‘OLD OAK FROM SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE’ A Relic of 19th Century Bardolotary — William Shakespeare [John Marshall] — 1858

Carved oak removed from Shakespeare’s birthplace during the restoration of 1858 which followed the building’s purchase for the nation - with a presentation inscription written by the Stratford carver John Marshall who worked on the renovation himself. The length of oak is 22x5cm. On the flat side is written in black ink: ‘Old Oak from Shakespeare’s Birthplace (Restored in 1858) Stratford-on-Avon To Gertrude Berrell August 29th 85 [ohn] M.[arshall]’. The wood is triangular in section with a singl…… Read more


LEGACIES OF SLAVERY Journal of a British Sugar Plantation Owner in British Guiana — John James Straker — 1860

A plantation owner’s journal of the aftermath of slavery and emancipation that he experienced during a six month fact-finding trip to family sugar holdings in the Demerara region of British Guiana. Early in his diary Straker records his stay in Mary Seacole’s Jamica family home, he reports an extraordinary conversation with US President Zachary Taylor about the failure of Emancipation, and transcribes convict songs heard in mainland West Indies. Small manuscript bound in diced black roan with re…… Read more


92 LETTERS OF A LOVESICK YORKSHIRE CLERGYMAN — Joseph Foster & Elizabeth ‘Bet’ Musson — 1865

Lovingly preserved letters sent by an adoring young Yorkshire Curate to his beloved fiance Elizabeth Musson in rural Lincolnshire. Between 1865 and the end of 1866 Joseph Foster sent his ‘Bet’ (presumably Betsy, or Elizabeth) 93 letters which she has gathered together and sewn into a borrowed vellum binding (and clasp) using pink legal ties. The binding is in very good condition with slight pushes to the top and tail of the spine. Bound together, the 93 are arranged in chronological order dating…… Read more


PRESENTATION COPY Classification and Uses of Finger Prints — Sir Edward Henry — 1901

Inscribed copy of this second edition of Henry’s fingerprint system which became the 'sole official method employed in the identification of habitual criminals in this country.' Green cloth, near very good, inscribed on the first (browned) flyleaf ‘Major Arthur Griffiths from the writer. Feb.: 1905’. Errata slip bound in ahead of the title page and ‘Supplied for the Public Servive’ stamped on the title. A comprehensive work complete with plates demonstrating Henry’s system for identifying the ar…… Read more


EARLIEST ENGLISH TRANSLATION The Power of Darkness or “If you fetter its claws, the bird must die”. — Leo Tolstoy [translated by] Lucy Hopper Cazalet — 1901

Unpublished English translation of Tolstoy’s dark masterpiece written by an English woman in pre-revolutionary Moscow just before Constantin Stanislavski gave the play its official premier in Moscow - and preceding by two years Louise and Aylmer Maude’s first published translation in English. Cazalet has handwritten her version of the play on five separate fascicules, each secured by a brass paper fastener, the last few foolscap sheets of the final fascicule detached but the sheets otherwise in…… Read more


EDWARDIAN ILLUSTRATED LIMERICKS - 360 of them! — Mrs E O Fountain, Miss C Norman, Miss Sherville, C Murray, D Goldsworth, Miss N Kemble etc — 1905

Compendious collection of Edwardian illustrated limericks which covers the full gamut of social and political preoccupations and anxieties of the era just before the Great War. Fat, small quarto, unattractively bound in green cloth which contains ten 72 page exercise books, bound together. Each has a title page and there is a list of contributors and First Line index to the rear. First floral endpaper detached. A remarkable compilation which covers subjects such as money-lending, suffragettes, t…… Read more


THE BERNHARDT BIRTHDAY BOOK Being Quotations from the Chief Plays of Madame Sarah Bernhardt's Repertoire and other Works — Sarah Bernhardt, E M Evors [editor] Max Pemberton — 1912

An uncommon book by the great Shakespearian actress, apparently produced for presentation purposes only, and this example copy is in very nice condition. Two-tone blue and tan cloth with gilt and fleur de lys decoration over bevel edged boards. All edges gilt; brown marbled endpapers. Internally near fine. Collates: [44] and 15 half tone photographs by Bert/ Nadar, Paris. Bernhardt (1844-1923)was a French stage actress who starred in some of the most popular plays of the late 19th and early 20th…… Read more


SECRET MANUSCRIPT DIARY WRITTEN FOR HIS GERMAN LOVER - A Diary for Eva’s Future Perusal — Hugh de Selincourt — 1939

Secret manuscript diary covering the first year of the Second World War, written by a British novelist for his German lover, the translator and writer Eva Schumann. The work of a highly experienced writer, this diary is written with fluency and writerly skill, conveying the day to day uncertainties and privations of the Phoney War, set against a complicated personal and domestic backdrop. Disguised binding, using the black cloth case of Iqbal Singh’s Gautama Buddha to conceal his manuscript with…… Read more



Gloriously rudely scrawled-on late Edwardian novel in which the trio of Goons have played off each other’s surreal suggestions to create a new and outrageous humorous hybrid book-manuscript, recalling the style of Joe Orton’s legendarily defaced library books. The Goons have misused a 1918 reprint of W W Jacobs Salthaven, covering 127 of the 350 pages, including the adverts to the rear. Happily the book features a character called ‘Sellars’ which probably set the process rolling, a process that…… Read more


AUTHOR-INSCRIBED John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet: A Journal of Rehearsals — Richard Sterne [William Shakespeare] — 1968

Eye witness account of the turmoil surrounding Richard Burton’s modern dress Hamlet, directed by one of the great Hamlets of the century - and itself the subject of a new play at the National Theatre. Near fine book in near fine jacket, inscribed by the writer - and a bit-part actor in the show: ’To Leigh Crutchley with friendship Richard Sterne London - Sep. 18, 1968’. By commercial standards Burton’s portrayal of Hamlet was a roaring success: it ran for 17 weeks, breaking a record previously h…… Read more


POST PRODUCTION SCREENPLAY Hamlet — William Shakespeare — July 1969

Hamlet post-production screenplay for the 1969 British film adaptation starring Nicol Williamson - seemingly not found in any institutional collection. Foolscap sized paper held together by corroded staples. Rust marks to front cover which is partially detached from the text block. Typescript of c100 pages, mimeograph-printed on the rectos only. Occasional black ink corrections to text. Directed by Tony Richardson, Williamson’s Hamlet found a unique solution to the length of Hamlet by including…… Read more


WITH A LEAF OF THE AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT Hamlet, Opera in Three Acts — William Shakespeare - Humphrey Searle — 1971

Number 2 of a Special Edition of 25 copies, signed by the composer and including a page of the vocal score of Hamlet in the composer’s manuscript. Small folio bound in tan linen cloth, near fine. Signed and numbered on the limitation page. The manuscript leaf is loosely contained in a plastic wallet inside the lower cover: it contains the passage at the beginning of Hamlet’s soliloquy: ‘O that this to, too sullied flesh would melt...’ Hamlet was Searle’s third and most ambitious opera, Hamlet, f…… Read more


Dr. Christian White
Christian White Rare Books
287 Leeds Road, Ilkley, LS29 8LL
07811 455398