7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Isabel. The Life of Captain Sir Richard Burton. By His Wife. In Two Volumes. London: Chapman & Hall, 1893.
2 volumes, 8° (232 x 150). Plates and illustrations from photographs and engravings. Original black cloth gilt, upper and lower covers gilt-illustrated, (recased with original endpapers, spines re-laid). Provenance: James Irvine.
FIRST EDITION, THE PERSONAL COPY OF A CLOSE FRIEND AND ASSOCIATE, with seven mounted or loosely inserted letters or cards from the author and related news clippings. James Irvine of Liverpool had known Burton forty years and remained a close friend of both the Burtons and long after Richard's death. He had lost much of his and all his investors' money on his Gold Coast mining concessions that Burton and Cameron investigated on their 1871-1872 expedition, but he continued to be a loyal correspondent and supporter of Isabel. He acted as go-between in the exchange of letters between husband and wife during the expedition so as not to jeopardize Richard's consular position which certainly did not fit into his commercial activities. Included are: Lithographed Funeral Notice with ms. dates and times; a Telegram from Isabel to Irvine for Richard inquiring about his long silence (referred to in Lovell, 'A Rage to Live' 1998); an A.L.s. from Isabel to Irvine 1891 on his assurance of 'future protection of [her] interests' and confirming she will write Burton's life; a T.L.s. on Irvine's suggestions for a revised edition, Sept. 1893; 2 further T.L.s. and an A.L.s. on Isabel's ill health, 1 Nov. 1894. As a biography, Penzer write that this is 'a mess of information of all kinds and sorts' though it stands as a tribute to Isabel's 'god upon earth.' Penzer p. 308-311. (2)
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