Sometime probably in the late 1890s, and unknown dealer or private collector assembled about 200 letters that were bound into volumes and titled "Sir Walter Scott: Letters of his Friends and Contemporaries." The letters aren't to, from, or even necessarily about Scott, but they provide an artifactual record of both his personal circles and the leading public figures of the day.
Whether he was making portraits of family and friends or preliminary studies for important history paintings, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) created drawings of great subtlety and nuance. Close examination of the paper and media allows us to glimpse the working methods of one of the greatest draftsmen and portraitists in French history.
Vente après décès, de la bibliothèque de nos égorgeurs. [Rouen: s.n., 1795]. Purchased on the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2011.
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.