WISE, FORGERY -- BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861). Sonnets. By E.B.B. Reading: [Not for Publication.], 1847. [i.e. London, printed by Richard Clay & Sons, ca 1886].
Small 8o (174 x 112 mm). Blue crushed levant morocco janseniste, top edge gilt, other edges uncut, by Zaehnsdorf; purple crushed levant morocco folding case. Provenance:: John Wayneflete Carter (1905-1975, bookplate, sale Sotheby's London, 24 March 1976, lot 27).
JOHN CARTER'S COPY, referred to by Bernard H. Breslauer as "no doubt the most fascinating copy of the most celebrated of the typographical forgeries perpetrated by T.J. Wise and H. Buxton Forman, purporting to be the first, privately printed edition of 'Sonnets from the Portuguese', which appeared for the first time in the second edition of her 'Poems', 1850." The volume was presented to Carter on his wedding to Ernestine Marie Fantl on 8 March, 1937 (not 1936, as stated by DNB), by the firm of Charles Scribner, his employer, at Carter's own suggestion.
The copy is accompanied by the following correspondence: Cora SANDERS, of the W.A. Clark, Jr. Library. Autograph letter signed, Los Angeles, 21 November 1934, 1 page, 4to, to John Carter, London: "I have recently come upon another copy of the Browning 'Sonnets', 1847... It is now owned by Mr. Harrison Post of Santa Monica...and was purchased from the Rosenbach Co. New York in 1926...we shall be forever grateful to you and Mr. Pollard for your most valuable exposure of their [i.e. the Wise forgeries] true character." -- Receipted invoice by The Scribner Book Store, New York, to Carter, dated Feb. 1937: "Browning, E.B., Sonnets...$150.00 plus 10 = $165. March 8: by cash $165.00"; underneath is a pencilled note signed "ever yours, George" [McKay Schieffelin]: "Thank you for solving the perplexing wedding present problem for me. I hope you will derive all kinds of pleasure from the sonnets and that Ernestine...may enjoy the reflected warmth of your contentment." -- Fillmore PHIPS, associate of Tone Price. Typed letter signed, Los Angeles, 12 March 1937, 1 page, 4to: "We are indeed pleased that you acquired the Reading SONNETS and that you are so delighted at your success..." -- David A. RANDALL. Typed letter signed, on Scribner's Sons' writing paper; 1 page, 4to: "Dear John, Tone Price...gave me an amusing account of the provenance of your 'Reading Sonnets'...The book originally belonged to the late-lamented W.A. Clark...who bought it from Dr. Rosenbach...Clark gave it as a gift to a lad by the name of Harrison Post, who was Clark's protégé among other things for a long time. Post got into financial difficulties and Tone bought it from him for $100.00..." -- Greeting card: "Congratulations on your Success," signed George Schieffelin, n.d. -- Correspondence, receipt, etc. concerning John Carter's loan of this copy to the E.B. Browning Exhibition at St. Marylebone Public Library, London, 6 February-15 May 1961. -- Edna C. DAVIS, of the W.A. Clark Memorial Library. Air letter, 1 page, folio: "...The files kept by Mr. Clark reveal...[your copy] was purchased from Rosenbach Company in mid-October, 1926 for $850--the price cited in code... a letter (dated October 8, 1926) from Dr. Rosenbach to Mr. Clark reads: '...we take great pleasure in informing you that we have one of the nine or ten copies mentioned by De Ricci in his Guide. We secured it privately from W.A. White...will you kindly send us a wire about it?'" -- John CARTER. Note on transparent envelope: "Paper analyst's photo from a snippet cut from my copy of Sonnets '1847' shown on BBC/2 12 Nov. 66" (enlarged to 130 by 103 mm). Todd 78f.