Sir Walter Scott, arguably the most successful writer of his day, was the first English-language novelist to be represented by a literary agent. In the last twenty years of his life, he published 23 works of fiction -- all anonymously -- and James Ballantyne, who was also Scott's business partner, sometimes-printer, and former schoolfellow, acted as a liaison or agent to help to obscure Scott's identity.
Pierre Laujon (1727-1811). Les a propos de societé, ou, Chansons de M. L. Paris : Joseph-Gérard Barbou, 1776. 3 vols. Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2011.
Francis Willughby (1635-1672). Ornithologiae libri tres, in quibus aves omnes hactenuscognitae in methodum naturis suis convenientem redactae accuratè describuntur, descriptiones iconibus elegantissimis & vivarum avium simillimis, aeri incisisillustrantur. London: Printed for John Martyn, printer to the Royal Society, 1676. Purchased on the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2011.
Francesco Patrizi (1413-1494). Enneas de regno, & regis institutione. Paris: Printed by Pierre Vidoue for Galliot du Pré, 1519. Purchased as the gift of Mrs. Livio Borghese and on the E. Clark Stillman Fund and the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2011.
Wilkie Collins, who not as well known today as his contemporary and collaborator Charles Dickens, was, in his heyday, a literary celebrity -- and he is perhaps best remembered now as the author of The Moonstone, which T. S. Eliot described as the first and greatest of English detective novels.
This armorial was compiled in England around 1597, and in over four hundred entries it chronicles the coats of arms of British royals and nobles up to the reign of Elizabeth I.
Felix Jean Gauchard (1825–1872) after Gustave Doré (1832–1883). Rejected woodblock for the headpiece, “Comment Gargantua nasquit en façon bien estrange,” chapter six in François Rabelais, Oeuvres(Paris: Garnier Frères, 1873). Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2011.
He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
“You’d best be getting home,” he said:
“The nights are very damp!”
Charlotte Brontë was only ten years old when she penned her earliest known work, and she was barely a tween when she began writing in earnest -- at her own count she had written over twenty complete works by the time she was fourteen.
One list, which she has headed Catalogue of my Books with the periods of their completion up to August 3, 1830, gives twenty-two titles, including A Book of Rhymes, which, now lost, apparently contained 10 poems.
In 1621, Peter Paul Rubens received Marie de’ Medici’s commission to create 24 tableaux for the decoration of two galleries in the Luxembourg Palace. The commission, which would come to be known as The Marie de' Medici Cycle, included a series of 21 paintings constructing a panegyric “visual biography” of Marie de’ Medici along with three portraits – of Marie, her mother and father. By early 1622, the terms of the contract were negotiated and Rubens had three years in which to finish one of the most challenging projects of his life, both artistically and intellectually.