English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

British literature and history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on poetry, fiction, and drama.

We usually have a selection of literary works from the STC and Wing period (i.e. before 1701), and a broad range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, particularly the Romantics. We also have a selection of historical manuscripts, prints and broadsides, and works in translation.

Among important works which have passed through our hands are the editor's presentation copy of Milton's Lycidas, Swift's Modest Proposal, the autograph draft of Byron's She walks in beauty, the autograph manuscript of Jane Austen's only play Sir Charles Grandison, Dickens’s copy of Vanity Fair, Trollope's classical library, and, over the years, some fifty Shakespeare First Folios.

  1. [BUDWORTH (later PALMER), Joseph].

    A Fortnight’s Ramble to the Lakes in Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Cumberland. By a Rambler …

    London: Printed for Hookham and Carpenter … 1792.

    First edition, scarce, of ‘the first published account of a Lake District walking tour’ (Bicknell).

    £1600

  2. BURNEY, Charles.

    An Account of the musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey, and the Pantheon, May 26th, 27th, 29th; and June...

    London, Printed for the Benefit of the musical Fund; and sold by T. Payne and Son ... 1785.

    First edition. The Handel Commemoration Concerts of 1784, conceived the previous year by Viscount Fitzwilliam, Sir Watkins Williams Wynn and Joah Bates to celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Frederick Handel, were performances on a scale then unprecedented in England. On the morning of Wednesday...

    £1250

  3. [BUTLER, John].

    Some Account of the Character of the late Right Honourable Henry Bilson Legge.

    London: Printed for J. Almon … 1764.

    First edition. Henry Bilson Legge (1708-1764), three times chancellor of the exchequer between 1754 and 1761, attracted both respect and censure. To Pitt, he was ‘the child, and deservedly the favourite child, of the Whigs’. Horace Walpole, on the other hand, thought him a man ‘of a creeping, underhand...

    £200

  4. CADOGAN, William Bromley.

    The Felicity of God’s Children, considered in a Sermon, preached upon the Death of a Lady, in the parish...

    Reading: Printed and Sold by Smart and Cowslade; and sold by J. Rusher, Reading; Messrs. Robinsons, V. Griffiths ... & J. Matthews ... London;...

    First edition, a funeral sermon by the popular preacher William Bromley Cadogan, a friend of John Newton, for the local widow Maria Littlehales, printed at the request of her children. A younger son of the third Earl of Cadogan, the well-connected churchman was vicar of St. Giles, Reading, and rector...

    £75

  5. CAMPBELL, Thomas.

    Autograph letter, signed, to the novelist and socialite Lady Morgan, explaining why he cannot join her party.

    ‘Wednesday Morning’, no date, but late 1840.

    ‘I have been dying also several times during the last six months – I hope however to survive a few weeks when I shall be nearer to you when, in my new house in Victoria Square, I shall hope to see you frequently.’ Campbell suffered increasing ill health towards the end of his life, but continued...

    £175

  6. CARDONNEL, Adam de.

    Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland [I–II] …

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by Edwards … also by Edwards’s, in Halifax. 1788.

    First edition, the very rare issue with the plates in sepia, printed directly onto thick wove paper.

    £975

  7. [CARTOUCHE.]

    The Life and Actions of Lewis Dominique Cartouche: who was broke alive upon the Wheel at Paris, Nov. 28. 1721. N.S....

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1722.

    First edition in English, published in the same year as the French original. Louis Dominique Bourguignon, alias ‘Cartouche’ (1693-1721), began his life of crime stealing fruit from women at the gates of his Jesuit school and books from his wealthy classmates. To avoid punishment for theft he fled...

    £1750

  8. CHESTERFIELD, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of.

    Lettres ecrites par le tres-honorable … Comte de Chesterfield, a son Fils, Philippe...

    A Paris, chez Panckoucke [but probably printed in London]. 1775.

    First edition in French of Chesterfield’s famous Letters to his Son (1774). Although not recognized as such by Gulick (and not listed in ESTC), this is almost certainly an English production; press figures appear throughout all five volumes, the typography and disposition is generally English...

    £950

  9. CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of.

    The History of the Rebellion and civil Wars in Ireland, with the true State and Condition of that...

    London: Printed by H. P. for J. Wilford … and T. Jauncy … 1720.

    First edition, a large paper copy in a presentation binding, from the family library of the Dukes of Ormond, the source of the manuscript from which it was published.

    £12500

  10. [COCHRAN, Charles B.]

    OSTROWSKA, Wanda and Viola G. GARVIN. London’s Glory.

    London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1945.

    First edition, a poignant collection of paintings of war-torn London by the Polish artist-in-exile Wanda Ostrowska, accompanied by extracts from her own writings and narrative by Viola Garvin.

    £75

  11. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    The Statesman’s Manual; or the Bible the best guide to political Skill and Foresight: a Lay Sermon,...

    London: Printed for Gale and Fenner … J. M. Richardson … and Hatchard … 1816.

    First edition of the first of Coleridge’s ‘Lay Sermons’, written in Highgate at the house of James Gillman, to whom Coleridge had come as an in-patient for his opium addiction.

    £500

  12. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    “Blessed are ye that sow beside all Waters!” A Lay Sermon, addressed to the higher and middle Classes,...

    London: Printed for Gale and Fenner … J. M. Richardson … and J. Hatchard … 1817.

    First edition of Coleridge’s second ‘Lay Sermon’, addressing the social unrest that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars, published in March 1817. A third intended ‘sermon’, to be addressed to the lower classes, was never in fact completed.

    £500

  13. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Biographia Literaria; or biographical Sketches of my literary Life and Opinions … Vol I[-II].

    London: Rest Fenner … 1817.

    First edition. Coleridge’s estimates of contemporary German poets and philosophers are justly celebrated, and the long autobiographical passages and critical analyses of Wordsworth and of Lyrical Ballads are of primary interest. ‘Though maddeningly unsystematic in structure, the book is a touchstone...

    £450

  14. [COLETTE, Sidonie-Gabrielle - WILLY [i.e. Henri Gauthier-Villars]]. KELLER, Fernand, and André LAUTIER.

    Colette (Colette Willy),...

    Paris, Éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1923.

    First edition of this critical work on Colette, with Willy’s manuscript annotations throughout. The copy was subsequently in the possession of Willy’s friend Pierre Varenne, who has added a pencilled note to the blank endleaf: ‘Annotations manuscrites de Willy. P.V.’, and a ms. postcard to Varenne...

    £900

  15. COOKE, George and George Rennie.

    Views of the old and new London bridges…

    London, Brown & Syrett, 1833.

    First edition of this narrative account, providing a detailed scientific and historical record of both the old and new London bridges, and making observations on the tides of the river Thames as a consequence of developments on the river, accompanied by some more general remarks on bridge construction....

    £1500

  16. [CRADOCK, Joseph].

    An Account of some of the most romantic Parts of North Wales …

    London, Printed for T. Davies … and T. Cadell … 1777.

    First edition of this travel narrative and history of Wales, dedicated to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn ‘who possesses so considerable a part of that Country’.

    £575

  17. CROMARTY, George Mackenzie, Earl of.

    An historical Account of the Conspiracies by the Earls of Gowry, and Robert Logan of Restalrig,...

    First edition, dedicated to Queen Anne, ‘and to all the Princes who share in her royal blood’. The Vindication of Robert III was first published in 1695.

    £150

  18. CRUSO, Timothy.

    Twenty-Four Sermons preached at the Merchant-Lecture at Pinners Hall …

    London: Printed by S. Bridge, for Thomas Parkhurst … 1699.

    First edition, published posthumously, an uncommon collection of sermons by Timothy Cruso, schoolfriend of Defoe, who memorialised his name in Robinson Crusoe.

    £450

  19. [CURLL, Edmund, and others].

    An impartial History of the Life, Character, Amours, Travels, and Transactions of Mr. John Barber,...

    London: Printed for E. Curll … 1741

    First edition. A fine specimen of the sort of obituary pamphlet issued by Edmund Curll almost immediately after the death of notable public figures.

    £650

  20. [CURLL, Edmund, editor].

    Impartial Memorials of the Life and Writings of Thomas Hearne, M.A. by several Hands.

    London: Printed in the Year 1736.

    First separate edition (based on John Bilstone’s hostile preface to Hearne’s Vindication of those who take the Oath of Allegiance, 1731, and first printed in this form as part of volume III of Curll’s edition of Mr. Pope’s Literary Correspondence, 1735).

    £450