“THE BEST LETTER-WRITER IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE” (SCOTT): WALPOLE’S LETTERS, WITH PORTRAITS
WALPOLE, Horace. The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, Edited by Peter Cunningham. London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1886. Nine volumes. Thick octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, top edges gilt; partially unopened. $1750.
Handsomely bound 1886 illustrated edition of the entire series of Walpole’s correspondence. With 39 engraved portraits throughout of Walpole and his correspondents.
Walpole (1717-97) is among the small group of writers of whom it may be said that their letters form their major work. In Walpole’s correspondence, printed gradually throughout the nineteenth century, “it is not too much to say that there is scarcely a dull page… In these epistles to Mann, to Montagu, to Mason, to Conway, to Lady Hervey, to Lady Ossory, to Hannah More, and a host of others, almost every element of wit and humour, variety and charm, is present. For gossip, anecdote, epigram, description, illustration, playfulness, pungency, novelty, surprise, there is nothing quite like them in English” (DNB XX, 632). “The best letter-writer in the English language” (Sir Walter Scott). First published in 1857. Lowndes, 2822.
Spines lightly and evenly toned. An extremely good set.