Memoirs of Thomas Brand-Hollis Esq. ...

London: Printed by T. Gillet ... 1808.

4to., pp. vii, [1], 60, with frontispiece portrait of Brand-Hollis, and nine plates (one folding) illustrating the Hyde at Ingatestone, Essex, its grounds, and its antiquities; some foxing, otherwise a very good large clean copy in later half calf and cloth sides, rebacked; the Signet Library copy, with armorial stamp on the sides.


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First edition of a privately printed memoir of Thomas Brand of the Hyde, who assumed the name Brand-Hollis on inheriting the Dorset estates (and library and collection of sculpture) of his friend the ‘Republican’ Thomas Hollis, the Whig bibliophile. The author, John Disney, a close friend of Thomas Brand, inherited both estates on Brand’s death and unhesitatingly retired to a life of literary leisure, of which this was an early and grateful product.

The Hyde, which was demolished after a fire in 1982, is here presented in a view from the south east, and two plates (one folding) of the magnificent hall and staircase built by Sir William Chambers in 1761. Also illustrated are the Greek and Roman sarcophagi, a figure of ‘Liberty, or Britannia’, the Hyde Hermitage, ‘the water and grounds at the Hyde ... taken from one end of the Shrubbery Walk’, and the monument to Brand-Hollis erected by Disney in the chancel of Ingatestone Church.

An interesting feature is the series of letters to Brand-Hollis from John Adams, future President of the United States. Adams and Brand-Hollis became friends after Adams was appointed ambassador to London when peace with England was re-established. He visited the Hyde in the summers of 1786 and 1787. Disney writes ‘his correspondence … on the subject of government [is] interesting, and his thoughts less desultory than we often find in the epistolary correspondence between friends. More ample extracts therefore from his letters than from those of others will be found in the notes. They may contain knowledge, at the same time they will be sure to gratify curiosity.’ There are also letters from Mrs Adams.

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