One of 30 copies for the Queen

Posted on 3rd September 2021 by simonbeattie

This book (a first edition, privately printed on the Royal estate at Windsor) describes itself as ‘The gift of the Queen, to her beloved daughters, Charlotte Aug: Matilda.  Augusta Sophia.  Elizabeth.  Mary.  And Sophia.  And with Her Majesty’s permission dedicated to their Royal Highnesses by the Translator Ellis Cornelia Knight’ (p. [3]). 

Cornelia Knight (1757–1837)—novelist, poet, diarist, friend of Johnson (her first book, the novel Dinarbas (1790), was a sequel to Rasselas) and Nelson (his ‘charming poet-laureate’)—spent much of her long life abroad.  In 1805, she was appointed companion, and reader, to Queen Charlotte, for whom she produced the present work, comprising prayers by Georg Friedrich Seiler and a handful of German hymns.  ‘There was a good library at Frogmore of books in French, English, and German, and Queen Charlotte thoughtfully gave her lady a key to the bookcases so that she could borrow what she wished at any time …  [In 1811,] a work of Cornelia’s, entitled Chronological Abridgment of the History of France, appeared … a similar volume on Spain had already come out in 1809.  They were both privately printed at Frogmore, as were two other books of a different nature which belong to 1812 : some translations of German prayers and hymns, and Miscellaneous Poems, to which she contributed along with W. R. Spencer, Samuel Rogers, and others’ (Luttrell, The Prim Romantic: a biography of Ellis Cornelia Knight, pp. 136, 148).

This copy comes from the library of Albert Ehrman (1890–1969; ‘one of the most distinguished of contemporary collectors’, Nicolas Barker, The Book Collector, 1970), with his armorial bookplate, pencil note, and small monogram inkstamp. For more details about the book, see my recent summer e-list.

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