The Heiress of Bruges; a Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred … In four Volumes …

London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley … 1830.

4 vols. bound in two, 8vo.; a fine copy, bound without the advertisement leaves at the end of vols. III-IV, in contemporary smooth red calf, blind central lozenge on covers, spines gilt (sunned), black morocco labels, gilt edges; bookticket of MacCallum’s Library of Glasgow, armorial bookplate of Maxwell of Polloc.


US $601€510

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First edition of Grattan’s first novel, a sprawling historical romance set in the Low Countries during the time of Spanish occupation, charting the fortunes of the eponymous heiress and her numerous suitors alongside the military upsets of the period. It was ‘one of the best historical romances of the day’ (DNB), with editions at Brussels and New York, and translations into French and Dutch.

Born in Dublin, Grattan was distantly related to both the Duke of Wellington and the Parliamentary leader Henry Grattan; he spent most of his working life as a journalist on the Continent, first at Bordeaux, then Paris and Brussels. Two collections of his stories were published with the assistance of Washington Irving, who nevertheless thought him ‘an arrant literary tradesman’, and after his removal to Brussels he concentrated increasingly on historical fiction, for which the New Monthly Magazine lauded him as ‘the Flemish Walter Scott’. He later served as British consul in Massachusetts.

Garside, Raven & Schöwerling 1830: 57; Loeber & Loeber G64; Sadleir 1062; not in Wolff.

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