A Presentation Copy of the First Printing of the First Library Catalogue Of England's Earliest Female Bibliophile, One of Just 40 Printed


(London: Robert Triphook, 1820). 235 x 142 mm. (9 1/4 x 5 3/4"). [iii]-xi, [1], 308 pp. (lacking the first of the two title pages at front). ONE OF 40 COPIES PRINTED.

In a very nice replica binding of honey-brown sheepskin over marbled boards, raised bands ruled in gilt, gilt titling. Front free endpaper INSCRIBED IN INK BY CURRER: With Miss Currer's Compl[imen]ts"; small ownership perforation of the Bradford Free Library on title page and p. 99; two small ink stamps on p. 59 and 99. Front free endpaper with thinned area where indication of earlier ownership likely appeared. ◆The boards just very lightly scuffed (though probably to provide a feeling of authenticity), otherwise only trivial imperfections. Apart from the signs of library ownership, a very fine copy, the text showing virtually no signs of use.

This is a presentation copy of the first library catalogue of Frances Mary Richardson Currer, an Englishwoman 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, 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, . . . in addition to what were collected by her great grandfather and great-uncle." Dibdin noted that her library at Eshton Hall in North Yorkshire was surpassed only by three collections, those of Earl Spencer and the dukes of Devonshire and 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." With just 40 copies printed, this first printing (there was a 1933 second edition) is very rarely seen on the market.

Price: $5,500.00