DISRAELI, Benjamin (1804-81)
Henrietta Temple, A Love Story
London: Henry Colburn, 1837. 3 volumes, 8vo. Extra-illustrated with an engraved portrait frontispiece by D'Orsay, with touches of hand coloring, trimmed and mounted on the front blank. Half-title in vol. 1, 2pp. publisher's ads in the rear of vol. 3.
Full green morocco by Bedford, covers elaborately tooled in gilt, spines in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others tooled in gilt, silk endpapers
Provenance: Mary Monckton Boyle, Countess of Cork (presentation copy inscribed by the author on the half-title); Mrs. Prinsep; M.A. Minchen (inserted letter and inscription on the title, see below)
First edition: an important presentation copy to Lady Cork, in a lovely binding by Bedford.
"[Disraeli] knew Lady Cork well, and is said to have described her accurately as 'Lady Bellair' in 'Henrietta Temple', and it is thought that Dickens drew on her for some of the features of 'Mrs. Leo Hunter' in 'Pickwick'" (DAB).
The inserted autograph letter signed by M.A. Minchen details the provenance of this copy: "I am so glad you should have the books, so that they will be so beautifully bound and protected. It was given by D'Israeli to Lady Cork, who after I had sent it to her, gave it to a Mrs. Prinsep, a dear old Lady who was devoted to me. Some time before her death I called on Mrs. L., who gave me the books as a remembrance of old times."
"Few Victorian fictions are more seldom seen" (Sadleir). A scare work; the last copy we could trace on the market was the Doheny copy, lacking the half titles, in a half binding and not a presentation copy, selling for $1800 hammer in 1988.