Maggs Bros Ltd

Needwood Forest.

MUNDY Francis Noel Clarke (1808)

£500.00  [First Edition]

Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

First Edition. 4to. 52 pp., added engraved frontispiece of Needwood Forest from the Holy Falls by J. G. Landseer after M. E. Sneyd [the date 1 Jan. 1810 scratched-out].

Lichfield: by John Jackson, 1776

[And]: The Fall of Needwood. First Edition. 4to. 45 pp., engraved frontispiece of The Fall of Needwood Forest by J. G. Landseer after M.E. Sneyd dated 9 July 1811. Bound together in contemporary blue straight-grained morocco (extremities and spine rubbed). Some marginal staining to the first plate and a neat old repair to the margin of the second plate.

Derby: at the Office of J. Drewry,

Two poems and two engravings inspired by Needwood Forest.

Needwood Forest was a substantial and ancient Midlands forest. The enclosure Act of 1803 allowed for its disafforestation, which took until 1811 to complete. Thus the first poem was written before the Act and the second during the process of enclosure. There is a copy in the Houghton Library at Harvard annotated by Horace Walpole throughout and with notes identifying the author. The initials of the poems addressed to the author on pages 45 to 52 of the first work are thought to be those of Erasmus Darwin, Anna Seward, Sir Brooke Boothby, Bart., and Erasmus Darwin junior. The second poems includes the short work "My Grand Climetric, 1802", and a poem by Anna Seward entitled "To. F.N.C. Mundy, Esq., on his poem The Fall of Needwood." Presumably Mundy belonged to the literary circle at Lichfield that included the Sir Brooke Boothby, the Darwins, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, and Miss Seward, 'The Swan of Lichfield' or as Walpole put it another 'Harmonious Virgin'. Anna Seward's parents adopted Hannah Sneyd, who either made the engravings for the present work or was related to the engraver. At the time Thomas Gisborne held the perpetual curacy of Barton-under-Needwood; Gisborne regarded Needwood much as Gilbert White did Selborne, and the former wrote in the early 1790s his Walks in the Forest, then still unenclosed. Needwood Forest had been a chase of the Duchy of Lancaster until the reign of Henry IV when it became Crown property. It is commonly associated with Sir Gawain's Green Knight.

Provenance: Presented from the author and the artist: "The Poem the Gift of the Author. - The Plates the Gift of Miss Sneyd" (inscribed on the verso of the front free endpaper) and 'From the Author' (inscribed on the title-page of the second work.)

Stock Code: 54453