"I ADMIRE AND LOOK UP TO HEROES, BUT INDOLENT MEN MAKE THE BEST LOVERS": THE INTERESTING MEMOIRS OF HARRIETTE WILSON, WONDERFULLY ILLUSTRATED WITH 21 HAND-COLORED PLATES AND BEAUTIFULLY BOUND BY WOOD
WILSON, Harriette. Interesting Memoirs of Harriette Wilson, One of the Most Celebrated Women of the Present Day. London: Edward Duncombe, circa 1825. Four volumes bound as one. Octavo, early 20th-century full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $1850.
Early edition of these famous memoirs, with two hand-colored portraits and 19 hand-colored plates, beautifully bound in elaborate full morocco-gilt by Wood. The copy of American aviator and book collector Cortlandt F. Bishop.
A woman of fashion who made her way into society, Wilson allegedly wrote this book to extort money. "The book duly appeared in four small volumes in 1825… and created such a sensation that Stockdale's door was thronged ten deep on the mornings announced for the publication of a new volume. Over 30 editions were stated to have been issued within the year… Among the well-known names that figure prominently in the narrative are those of the Duke of Wellington, the Duke of Leinster, Lord Hertford, Marquis Wellesley, the Earl of Fife, Prince Esterhazy, Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, Lord Ebrington, Beau Brummell, Henry Luttrell, and 'his inseparable fat Nugent,' Viscount Ponsonby, Richard Meyler, Lord Frederick Bentinck, Lord Byron, and Henry Brougham," resulting in a not-insubstantial amount of legal action (DNB). Bookplate of American aviator Cortlandt Bishop. In addition to being a pioneer in aviation, Bishop was a committed collector and arts patron. He collected widely, across many fields, and with a great deal of skill. Auctions of his furniture and postage stamp collections, for example, were highly anticipated. However, his most striking collection was his book collection. Treated as a social event and publicized in nationally read periodicals, the auction of Bishop's book collection raised record sums on many items and books from his collections continue to be highly valued.
A very nearly fine copy.