London, South Kensington
9 June 2015
[CURRER, Frances Mary Richardson (1785-1861) – Robert TRIPHOOK, compiler.] Catalogue of the Library at Eshton Hall. London: B. McMillan for Robert Triphook, 1820. 8vo (244 x 150mm). Original green quarter morocco over drab boards (lightly rubbed). Provenance: PRESENTATION COPY BY CURRER (ink inscription on front free endpaper to:) – Cooper Preston (1786-1860, of Flasby Hall, Yorkshire, with additional ink ownership inscription dated 1821 on front pastedown).
ONE OF ONLY 40 COPIES OF THE FIRST CATALOGUE OF CURRER’S LIBRARY. Currer was, in the opinion of De Ricci, ‘England's earliest female bibliophile’ (p.141). She was born on 3 March 1785 at Eshton Hall, near Gargrave, in Yorkshire, being the posthumous daughter and sole heir of the Revd Henry Richardson (1758-1784). Her mother, a niece of Clive of India, was the only surviving child and heir of Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall. Dibdin considered her ‘the head of all female collectors in Europe’ (Reminiscences, 2.949) and that her ‘library was, in its day, surpassed only by those of Earl Spencer, the duke of Devonshire, and the duke of Buckingham’ (ODNB). A second catalogue compiled by C.J. Stewart appeared in an edition of 100 copies in 1835 [see lot 251]. After her death, Currer’s half-brother sold most of the library at Sothebys in 1862 fetching nearly £6,000; a second tranche in 1916 raised more than £3,700. The remaining books were sold in 1979 and in 1994.
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