“VIVID PAGEANT OF SCENERY AND HISTORICAL ACCURACY”: FIRST EDITION OF AINSWORTH’S WINDSOR CASTLE, 1843, IN ORIGINAL BOARDS, THE HANNAH RABINOWITZ COPY
AINSWORTH, W. Harrison. Windsor Castle. London: Henry Colburn, 1843. Three volumes. Octavo, original half black cloth and drab boards, original printed paper spine labels, uncut. Housed in custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. $950.
First edition in book form of Aisnworth’s historical romance of Henry VIII and Herne the Hunter, in original boards, from the library of significant book and art collector Hannah D. Rabinowitz.
“Beginning with old-fashioned Gothic stories, [Ainsworth] turned out a long series of pseudo-historical romances of which The Tower of London (1840), Old Saint Paul’s (1841), Windsor Castle (1843) and The Lancashire Witches (1849) are the best. On a ground of solid antiquarianism Ainsworth applied ‘local color’ thickly, touching it off with sentiment, rhetoric and horror” (Baugh et al.., 1275-76). “Ainsworth’s novels are noteworthy… for their vivid pageant of scenery and historical accuracy” (Kunitz & Haycraft, 7). Windsor Castle recounts Henry VIII’s relationship with Anne Boleyn; it also draws on legends of Herne the Hunter, the spirit guardian of Windsor Forest. With engraved frontispiece in each volume by George Cruikshank. First published in serial form beginning in 1842. Morocco bookplates of Hannah D. Rabinowitz, noted collector not only of rare books but also paintings and illuminated manuscripts. (Her husband, Louis Rabinowitz, was also a significant collector, whose collections “made Yale one of the leading centers of Hebrew scholarship in the country,” Dickinson, 267).
Scattered light foxing, occasional marginal soiling and tiny closed tears. Light toning and rubbing to spines, light age-wear to boards, minor loss to spine labels. An extremely good copy in original boards, with notewothy provenance.