Book Description

THE POET’S OWN COPY [WORDSWORTH, William] PENFOLD, Jane Wallas Madeira Flowers, Fruits, and Ferns, a Selection of the Botanical Productions of That Island, Foreign and Indigenous, Drawn and Coloured From Nature. [With a Poem by William Wordsworth] Reeve Brothers, 1845. 4to. Additional hand coloured lithographed title, 20 hand coloured lithographed plates, three double page, each with a single page of accompanying text, subscribers leaf with woodcut border. Original green cloth, gilt with blindstamped foliate borders and central gilt urn design to the front cover, repeated in blind on the rear board. The covers a little unevenly faded with a couple of old marks, the spine has been cleverly restored. Press cuttings mounted to front and rear pastedowns. A Fine copy. With an impeccable provenance, from the library of William Wordsworth with the author’s inscription “William Wordsworth Esq. from the Author” on the end paper. The author approached Wordsworth in 1843 to compose some verses for her book “Although it is now two years since Mr. Wordsworth composed them, they were written, I feel proud to say, for this volume, which was at the time contemplated. The flowers he names do not all correspond with those subsequently selected, but the reader will feel with me that any emanation from the pen of so celebrated a Bard must add charm to the book which it could not otherwise have gained.” The poem “Verses composed at the request of Jane Wallas Penfold” is first published here and as far as I can trace was not reprinted until Knight’s Edition of his poetical works in 1882.
Dealer Notes
There are 66 subscribers listed in the volume and it would therefore seem unlikely that more than 100/125 copies were printed: certainly it is uncommon with only three copies recorded at auction over the last 50 years.
A tipped in offprint from the Journal of Botany [Vol. 57. April, 1919.] quotes correspondence from the Times Literary Supplement (March 6th) where, following communication about the publication a response was received “Mr Gordon Wordsworth of The Stepping Stones, Ambleside - a grandson of the poet - writes that he possesses a copy of Madeira Flowers inscribed: “Wm. Wordsworth Esq. from the Author.””

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