The Village Coquettes : A Comic Opera. In two Acts... the Music by John Hullah. London: Richard Bentley, 1836 to the actor John Pritt Harley (1786-1858), December 1836, One page 4o, folds, minor soiling and a few discreet repairs, two pale stains at left edge, strengthened at the gutter on verso, tipped-in to an album with 6 blank leaves; half morocco gilt, marbled paper boards. " /> [DICKENS, Charles]. Autograph manuscript signed ("Boz"), the "Dedication" of <I>The Village Coquettes : A Comic Opera. In two Acts... the Music by John Hullah.</I> London: Richard Bentley, 1836</I> to the actor John Pritt Harley (1786-1858), December 1836, <I>One page 4<V>o, folds, minor soiling and a few discreet repairs, two pale stains at left edge, strengthened at the gutter on verso</I>, tipped-in to an album with 6 blank leaves; half morocco gilt, marbled paper boards. |
  • Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1981

    The William E. Self Family Collection Part I The Kenyon Starling Library Of Charles Dickens

    2 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 11

    [DICKENS, Charles]. Autograph manuscript signed ("Boz"), the "Dedication" of The Village Coquettes : A Comic Opera. In two Acts... the Music by John Hullah. London: Richard Bentley, 1836 to the actor John Pritt Harley (1786-1858), December 1836, One page 4o, folds, minor soiling and a few discreet repairs, two pale stains at left edge, strengthened at the gutter on verso, tipped-in to an album with 6 blank leaves; half morocco gilt, marbled paper boards.

    Price Realised  

    [DICKENS, Charles]. Autograph manuscript signed ("Boz"), the "Dedication" of The Village Coquettes : A Comic Opera. In two Acts... the Music by John Hullah. London: Richard Bentley, 1836 to the actor John Pritt Harley (1786-1858), December 1836, One page 4o, folds, minor soiling and a few discreet repairs, two pale stains at left edge, strengthened at the gutter on verso, tipped-in to an album with 6 blank leaves; half morocco gilt, marbled paper boards.

    Provenance: Edwin M. Coggeshall (his sale Anderson Galleries, 25 April 1916, lot 79); A. Edward Newton ("Oak Knoll" bookplate and purchase inscription; his sale Parke-Bernet New York, 18 April 1941, lot 492); Comte Alain de Suzannet (bookplate; his sale Sotheby's London, 23 November 1971, lot 305); Kenyon Starling (bookplate).

    THE AUTHOR'S DEDICATION OF HIS FIRST "DRAMATIC BANTLINGS." Written in letter form, beginning and ending rather formally: "My Dear Sir," but expressing the warmest sentiments: "My dramatic bantlings are no sooner born than you father them. You have made my Strange Gentleman exclusively your own; you have adopted Martin Stokes with equal readiness... I dedicate to you the first play I ever published and you made for me the first play I ever wrote. The balance is in your favour and I am afraid it will remain so... that you may long contribute to the amusement of the public and long be spared to shed a luster, by the honour and integrity of your private life... is the sincere wish of my dear Sir, Yours most faithfully."

    Slightly longer than the printed dedication as it appeared in Bentley's pamphlet of December 1836 by the inclusion of an additional phrase referring to future theatrical roles that Dickens may write for him at the end of the first paragraph "no matter how numerous they may be; or how quickly they may be followed in succession." The printed version has the date 15th December specified, and has been signed "Charles Dickens."

    Dickens and Hullah (at the time an aspiring composer, but subsequently Government Inspector of Musical Education) began work on their Italian libretto, English Drama hybrid Village Coquettes possibly as early as December 1835. Progress was slow until Dickens's future father-in-law George Hogarth had a propitious meeting with theatre producer and leading light-opera tenor of the day John Braham (1774-1856) on 15th January 1836. By sheer coincidence Dickens had just written a warm review of Braham's singing for the Morning Chronicle, which Hogarth was not slow to point out to Braham. Two weeks later Dickens had completed his play and Braham had accepted it with enthusiasm, taking the lead role of Squire Norton for himself, and with a few revisions including the addition of the character Martin Stokes. This role was a vehicle for John Pritt Harley (1786-1858) a star of Drury lane whom Braham had just signed. Dickens and Harley became good friends as is evidenced by this warm dedication. Johnson, 151-154; Rosenbaum and White Index of English Manuscripts DkC289.









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