MOORE, A. The Annals of Gallantry; Or, The Conjugal Monitor, Being a Collection Trials for Divorces, and Actions of Crim. Con. during the Present Reign; accompanied with Biographical Memoirs and Anecdotes. With eighteen hand-colored plates and two engraved portraits. THE BEELEIGH ABBEY FOYLE COPY
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Three volumes. London: Printed for the proprietors, And Sold by M. Jones, 1814-1815. pp. (1) viii, iv, 9-485 (2) v, , 3-488 (3) v, , 3-412, [20 (Plates)]. Bound by Riviere in full crushed red levant morocco, name in gilt on turn-ins. Covers tooled in gilt to a panel design with outer thistle fleurons. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands; title, author an volume numbers in gilt direct in the second and third, the remainder tooled in gilt to a centre-and-corner floral design; board edges ruled in gilt, wide gilt doublures with binder’s name stamped in gilt on lower margin of upper covers; blue green endpapers; blue, gold and red endbands. Edges untrimmed. Red morocco bookplate of W.A. Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey, on the front pastedowns. A fine set.
COPAC locates 2 copies only BL and UGL (defective, 8 plates only).
The Annals of Gallantry was originally issued in 18 monthly parts from March 1, 1814 to August 1,
1815. It aimed to amuse and titillate. The accounts in these volumes are valuable nevertheless for their
accurate reports and vivid background histories. What is more, this collection is a fascinating document
of English and Anglo-Irish social and legal attitudes toward adultery and divorce during the age of
George IV and Jane Austen. The Plates by Cruikshank, all in Volume I, are “Lady Grosvenor and the
Duke of Cumberland Surprised by the Servant,” “The Unwelcome Intruders” and “The Elopement of
Lady W---- with Lord Paget.” Includes the rare portrait of a lady (p. 194, Vol. 3)
Provenance: From the library of William Alfred Westropp Foyle (1885-1963), bookseller and
businessman who co-founded Foyles bookshop in 1903 with his brother Gilbert Foyle.
William Foyle was one of the leading London booksellers of the 20th century. The business had grown
so rapidly that their bookstore in Charing Cross Road held a stock of four million volumes on over
thirty miles of bookshelves, and the name of Foyle had become synonymous with bookselling in
The Foyle brothers were determined to create the greatest bookshop in the world. Foyles became
increasingly popular with customers and members of the public throughout the world. In 1930, Foyle’s
nineteen-year-old daughter, Christina, brought together famous writers and distinguished figures, along
with members of the public, to create the world’s first public literary luncheon.
In May 1936 the Left Book Club was established, and towards the end of 1936 a group of “neo-Tories”
mooted the idea of a right-wing book club. Foyle and his daughter Christina undertook to organize it,
and the Right Book Club was launched at a luncheon at the Grosvenor House Hotel in April 1937, with
Lord Stonehaven, the recently-retired Chairman of the Conservative Party, presiding.
During the Second World War, Foyle bought Beeleigh Abbey, a 12th-century monastery on the River
Chelmer at Maldon, Essex. Although Foyle had collected books from an early age, it was at Beeleigh
Abbey that he was able to house the books properly, forming one of the largest English private libraries
of the 20th century. From 1963 to 1999 Christina Foyle lived at and maintained the Beeleigh estate. In
July 2000 the library was sold at auction by Christie’s auction house. The three day sale realised some
£12,000,000, the most expensive item, a Medieval French work, selling for £883,750. It was the single
most valuable collection of books ever to be sold at auction in Britain or Europe.
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