(London: Richard Bentley, 1842). 195 x 115 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 5/8"). Three volumes. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary half calf over brown marbled boards, raised bands with gilt tooling, spine panels blind-stamped in a scolloped pattern, red morocco label, marbled endpapers and edges. Front pastedown with the bookplate of the celebrated book-collector Frances Mary Richardson Currer of Eshton Hall in each volume. Provenance: Dibdin, "Reminiscences of a Literary Life" (1836), pp. 949–57; De Ricci, "English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts" (1930), pp. 141-43. Extremities a bit rubbed, boards lightly chafed, occasional minor marginal stains or light patches of foxing, but a pleasing copy, generally clean and fresh, in sturdy original bindings with no significant condition issues.
This novel of the British navy during the Jacobite Rebellion comes from the library of a woman described by De Ricci as "England’s earliest female bibliophile" and hailed by Dibdin as "the head of all female collectors in Europe." An only child, Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861) inherited considerable assets from both her father's and her mother's families: her relative Dorothy Richardson wrote in 1815, "She is in possession of both the Richardson and Currer estates and inherits all the taste of the former family, having collected a very large and valuable library, and also possessing a fine collection of prints, shells, and fossils, in addition to what were collected by her great grandfather and great-uncle." Dibdin noted that her library at Eshton Hall was "surpassed only by those of Earl Spencer, the duke of Devonshire, and the duke of Buckingham." According to DNB, "the library had substantial holdings in natural science, topography, antiquities, and history, together with a collection of the classics. There were rarities, some early printed books, a collection of Bibles, and a fine gathering of illustrated books. . . . Dibdin first estimated the number of volumes at 15,000 and, later, 18,000. In 1852, Sir J. B. Burke put the number at 20,000." Although best known for his Leatherstocking Tales set on the early American frontier, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) had originally intended a career in the navy, and spent several years at sea before an inheritance from his father allowed him to pursue a literary career. Deemed by Day "an excellent naval novel," the text here is a poignant tale of conflicting loyalties and the importance of friendship, seen through the eyes of the titular "Two Admirals," lifelong friends supporting opposing political forces in the contest over the Stuart succession to throne of Britain. (ST16673)