RICHARDSON, Samuel (1689-1761). Clarissa; or, The history of a young lady. London: S. Richardson, 1751.
7 volumes, 8° (211 x 125mm). EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with a total of 36 engraved plates in three series after Chodowiecki, Eisen and Marillier. With a 4-PAGE AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR inserted at the front of volume I. (Some spotting.) FINELY-TOOLED FRENCH GREEN MOROCCO, covers with contrasting gilt roll-tools forming an elegant rococco border around a plain centre panel, smooth spines divided into seven compartments, directly lettered in two, the remainder with a fountain ornament repeated in each, gilt board edges and turn-ins, pink silk doublures, vellum fly leaf at the front of each volume (upper joints of vol. I slightly splitting). Provenance: Antoine-Augustine Renouard (1765-1853, with his name tooled at the foot of the upper cover of each binding, his name impressed in gold on each of the vellum fly leaves with shelf-mark no. 1131, and his signature on each of the title-pages with date 1787); Mortimer L. Schiff (morocco label, sold Sotheby's 25 March, 1938, for £22 to Edwards).
Fourth edition. THE RENOUARD-SCHIFF COPY, INCLUDING AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER BY RICHARDSON WHICH TWICE REFERS TO THE NOVEL. One can assume that the binding of this copy was executed in 1787, the date that Renouard signed each and every title page with such youthful enthusiasm. The letter, on 4 integral pages (183 x 150mm), dated 'Ember Court, Jan. 4. 1749/50,' is written to a young lady of 21, addressed by Richardson only as 'Miss G.' He thanks her for her letter, expresses great affection for her ('I believe I shall love you as if you were one of my own Girls'), is glad they have stopped 'fighting and scratching,' and hopes their correpondence can now be one of 'Prudence and Improvement.' In entering a long discussion of the duty owed to parents by children, he refers to the mother and daughter relationship in Clarissa and the letter in volume VII 'from Colonel Morden to Belford, in which you will find the Mother and Daughter (as to the duty of both) set in a just light, with the Colonel's opinion of the faults of both.' Towards the end of his letter, he repeats the same reference to Clarissa: 'had you, Madam, duly attended to the Argument of Clarissa in the letter I refer'd you to, you would have seen that the age from 14 to 21, is the age when most Care, most Vigilance, is required from the Parent over the Child.' Finally, he apologises for not writing on better paper, and for his bad handwriting (the letter in frail condition, with tears along folds and laminated repairs). (7)