DUKE HUMFREY

Jacqueline of Holland. A historical Tale …

London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley … 1831.

3 vols., 8vo.; wanting half-titles (if called for); a very good copy in contemporary half calf, a little rubbed, spines gilt; bookplate of W. Waldegrave Pelham Clay.

£450

Approximately:
US $603€513

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First edition. Like Grattan’s first novel, The Heiress of Bruges (1830), this, his second, is a rambling romance solidly based on unfamiliar historical sources (Oxford DNB), the heroine being Jacqueline, Countess of Hainault (Jacoba van Beieren, 1401-1436), erstwhile sovereign of Holland. She married four times, once to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the soldier and literary patron whose books now form the oldest part of the Bodleian Library.

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.

Loeber & Loeber G66; Wolff 2720.

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