Imagine having a father who was friends with Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and other famous authors of the 19th century. Henry Bradbury, the son of William Bradbury (of the Victorian publisher Bradbury and Evans), used his father's connections to compile a scrapbook of letters, sketches, drawings, prints, photographs, and printed ephemera. Much of the material is related to Punch, the Victorian periodical printed and later purchased by Bradbury and Evans.
John Keats died with £800 in chancery, due to him from an inheritance. He knew nothing of this though, and was effectively penniless while he was dying of consumption. In a final attempt to recover his health, he set sail for Italy in the fall of 1820 with his close friend Joseph Severn. A month before his departure, he acknowledged the futility of this journey in a short letter to his publisher and friend John Taylor and noted that the upcoming trip "wakes me at daylight every morning and haunts me horribly."
The woodcut, one of the earliest printmaking techniques, became popular in Europe around 1400. Woodcuts are produced by carving an image into a block of wood, usually a hard fruitwood, cut parallel to its grain. Only the lines and shapes of the drawn design are left standing in relief; all other areas of the wood are carefully excised with sharp woodworking tools, such as gouges, chisels, and knives.
While it is conjectured that Jane Austen wrote over 3,000 letters, only 160 have survived. Of these, the Morgan owns fifty-one—more than any other institution in the world. After examining this extensive resource, the conservators of the Morgan's Thaw Conservation Center were able to make several general observations regarding the materials used to produce handwritten manuscripts and letters in early nineteenth-century England.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
Autograph letter signed, dated London , to Leigh Hunt
Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2008
(American, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1935)
The Glyptotek Drawings, 1987–88.
Charcoal on Mylar. 17 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches (45 x 39.4 cm)
Promised gift of the artist to The Morgan Library & Museum.
Samuel Richardson (1689–1761)
Autograph letter signed, dated London, 29 March 1750, to Frances Grainger
Purchased on the Fellows Endowment Fund, 2008
Robert Frost (1874–1963)
Autograph letter signed, dated Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, 25 August 1926, to Conrad Aiken
Purchased on the John F. Fleming Fund, 2008
Giacomo Torelli (1608–1678). Scene e machine preparate alle Nozze di Teti, Balletto Reale [Paris: s.n., 1654]. Bound with: Giulio Strozzi (1583–1652). Feste theatrali per la finta pazza[Paris: s.n., 1645]. PML 195035. Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2008.
Sebastian Münster (1489–1552). Organum uranicum. Basle: Heinrich Petri, 1536; bound with Venerable Bede (673–735), Opuscula cumplura de temporum ratione. Cologne: Printed by Johannel Prael for Peter Quentel, 1537. PML 195039. Purchased as the gift of Rudy L. Ruggles, Jr., and on the Lathrop C. Harper Fund, 2008.