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1836 : ITALY : A POEM by SAMUEL ROGERS Full Fine Leather Binding ENGRAVINGS

1836 : ITALY : A POEM by SAMUEL ROGERS Full Fine Leather Binding ENGRAVINGS

Regular price $162.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $162.00 USD
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Italy: a poem

By Samuel Rogers

Printed for T. Cadell ; E. Moxon, London, 1836. First Edition. 8vo, full contemporary leather binding with gilt decoration and gilt spine, gilt to all page edges, , gilt to leather turn-ins. vii, 296 pp. With engravings by Sir A.W. Callcott, C.L. Eastlake, E. Landseer, T. Uwins and other.


A good copy. The leather binding is in good condition with the hinges sound and strong. Endpapers good. Bookplate to inside front board (Wester Fordel) which is a house in Perthshire. All contents present and pages good throughout but there is a little light spotting to the first few and last pages. Overall a good early copy.

Samuel Rogers (1763–1855), a wealthy banker turned poet, achieved literary renown with his enormously popular poem The Pleasures of Memory (1792).1 Although he would never surpass this early success, he nonetheless remained deeply engaged in the cultural circles of early nineteenth-century London. His famous breakfast parties at his house in St James Place brought together the artistic and literary luminaries of the day, including Turner and a number of poets whose works Turner would later illustrate. An imaginary version of one such gathering can be seen in Charles Mottram’s engraving of 1823 (Tate T04907).

In 1815, Rogers made his first visit to Italy, where he was enthralled by the historical and cultural richness of his surroundings. He wrote to one friend, ‘Oh if you knew what it was to look upon a Lake which Virgil has mentioned & Catullus sailed upon, to see a house in which Petrarch has lived.’2 Rogers’s travels abroad became the source of inspiration for his long poem Italy, in which the narrative interweaves personal experience with sentimental storytelling and historical reflection.

When Part I of Italy was first published by Longman in 1821–2, it met with a lukewarm reception. Rogers, however, was a man endowed with a perfectionist nature and unlimited personal funds, and he persevered with his endeavour. By 1828, he had issued three revised editions of Part I, as well as a first edition of Part II. In 1824, he had bought up 548 copies of Italy (presumably all that was left of the third edition) in order to issue the fourth edition and even more drastic was his decision to halt the 1828 republication of Italy in order to ‘make some Alterations.’ In this case, Rogers appears to have bought up and ‘made a bonfire’ of no less than two thousand copies of the book.3 As he assured one friend ‘money in such matters is no object’. He also commissioned illustrations for a new luxury edition of the complete work. Frederick Goodall, the son of the engraver Edward Goodall, offers one account of how the idea for an illustrated Italy may have come about: ‘Rogers having expressed to Turner the opinion that nobody ever read his poems, Turner demurred, but added with emphasis, “Then they shall read them, and no lady’s boudoir shall be complete without a copy, for I will make them attractive with illustrations.” Whether this little tale is true or not, Turner seems to have welcomed the opportunity to illustrate the publication. Rogers’s poetic style, which was heavily influenced by the Augustan poets, as well as his reverence for Italy, were well in line with Turner’s own tastes and sensibilities.
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