ROSSETTI, Christina (1830-1894)
Verses ... Dedicated to her Mother
London: Privately Printed at G. Polidori's, 1847. Small 8vo. , 66, [2, blank]pp. Original blue patterned cloth wrappers bound in.
Full green morocco, bound by Zaehnsdorf, covers with an elaborate floral decoration in gilt with red morocco inlays, spine gilt with raised bands in six compartments, tan morocco endpapers and pastedowns, gilt dentelles, gilt edges. Expert repair to front joint. Full modern morocco box.
Provenance: Eliza Harriet Polidori (presentation inscription by the author, dated July 1847); Charles Plumptre Johnson (bookplate); Dr. Samuel L. Siegler (bookplate); Parke Bernet, December 9-10, 1952, lot 596
First Edition of the author's rare first book, comprising poems written when she was between twelve and sixteen years of age, and printed at the private press of her grandfather: inscribed by Christina Rossetti to her aunt.
The collection, dedicated to her mother, consists of 42 poems (40 in English and two in Italian), a significant achievement for a sixteen year old and Christina Rossetti's formal literary début. Printed by her maternal grandfather at his own private press in Park Village East (on the northern corner of Regent's Park), in his preface (entitled 'A Few Words to the Reader'), Gaetano Polidori confirms that Christina's first composition (printed on p.17) was written on her mother's birthday in April 1842. This was originally copied out in a large copperplate hand on pencilled lines that were then erased, and presented to her mother with a posy. 'The Dead City' holds premier place, followed by 'The Water Spirit's Song', the mermaid fantasy of 1844, and several poems celebrating the rose which Christina adopted as her emblem. Pages 55-56 are in the corrected state: dated 1847 at the end; stanza 5, line 1 reads "And now that thou art gone"; stanza 5, line 3 reads "And see the clouds"; stanza 6, line 1 reads "'Yes, oftentimes I sit beneath it now"; stanza 8, lines 1-2 have quotation marks; stanza 8, line 1 ends with a semi-colon. This example with important provenance, inscribed by Rossetti to her aunt Eliza, and from the noted collections of bibliographer Charles Plumptre Johnson and collector Dr. Samuel L. Siegler.
Fredeman 44.2; Hayward 267; Ashley IV, p. 99; Tinker 1784; CBEL III, 497; CBEL (3) IV, 659; Marsh pp.32-41, 72-76.