SWIFT, Jonathan. Travels into several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver. In Four Parts. [LOUGH FEA COPY WITH FINE FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF THE FOUR COURTS]


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With copious notes, A Life of the Author, and An Essay on Satirical Fiction by W. C. Taylor, LL.D. Illustrated with upwards of four hundred wood-engravings. London: Hayward and Moore, 1840. Medium octavo. pp. 16, lx, 508. Contemporary full red morocco, covers blocked in gilt to a panel design with arabesque devices in inner panels, enclosing in the centre of both covers Evelyn Philip Shirley’s monogram ‘EPS’; board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt; cream endpapers; green and gold endbands; green silk marker. Fine fore-edge painting of the Four Courts and the Quays in Dublin. All edges gilt. A fine copy with a superb fore-edge painting.
Shirley, Evelyn Philip (1812-82), antiquarian and landowner, was born in South Audley Street, London, the eldest son of Evelyn John Shirley, landowner and MP for County Monaghan. The Shirley family had large estates in County Monaghan (c.26,000 acres) and around Lower Ettington Park, their principal residence, in Warwickshire. Their Irish residence was at Lough Fea, which Evelyn Philip Shirley visited twice a year. Educated at Eton, he went up to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1830, and graduated BA (1834) and MA (1837).
It was in the study of history and antiquity that Shirley’s real interests lay, and in his library at Lough Fea he acquired and developed one of the finest private collections in Ireland, which numbered around 3,000 distinct titles in 1872. The library included a range of manuscripts in both Irish and English, as well as hundreds of pamphlets relating to the church of Ireland, the Act of Union, and the revolution of 1688. The most important part of his collection was perhaps the fourteen volumes containing approximately 300 quarto tracts detailing the 1641 rebellion.
His reputation as an antiquarian of note was also demonstrated by the positions he held within educational and learned societies. He was a trustee of Rugby School and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as being an FSA. It is believed that Benjamin Disraeli portrayed him as Mr Ardenne in Lothair, describing him as a ‘man of ancient pedigree himself, who knew everyone else’s, which was not always pleasant’.



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