A large organised scrap book of portraits of notable figures from the last twenty years or so of George III’s reign, circa 1800-1820


A fascinating folio scrap book, 14¾ x 11 ins, in blind stamped cloth with simple gilt title to the upper board SCRAP BOOK. The book has 48 thin card pages ten of which have cut out portraits pasted to both sides, the remainder having them to the facing side only. The front pastedown and free endpaper additionally have portraits of the royal family. The portraits, all monochrome, have been carefully cut round and the title of each, usually separate, is pasted beneath each. The portraits are pasted between 4 and 12 to a page in neat fashion and many may have come from sources like the Gentleman’s Magazine or similar journals. They are not grouped by subject and may have been entered in roughly the order they were acquired. They cover a great range of spheres of celebrity – political, aristocratic, military, naval, scientific, royal, religious, legal, literary, artistic, theatrical. The majority are men but there are also women – actresses, duchesses, hostesses, artists. There are some foreign figures but mainly with a British connection – Napoleon, Alexander I of Russia, Prince of Nassau, General Blücher, Louis XVIII. There are a few notable figures from Indian history such as Tippoo Sultan, Hyder Ali, Sir William Jones, Marquis Wellesley, etc. Unfortunately there are no ownership markings to help us understand the reason for the selection. Such care has gone into the cutting and pasting that one imagines a sense of purpose behind the book but cannot quite decide what it was. No page has been removed and no portrait either although around five have worked loose and are still between the pages where they were pasted. Thinking of a Jane Austen novel this is the sort of book one could imagine Mr Bennett working on in his study while his wife and daughters were pursuing their interests elsewhere.  aug27/2

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