Poems, Sacred to Love and Beauty.

DOWNMAN Hugh (1808)

£950.00  [First Edition]

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First Edition. Two Volumes. 8vo (159 x 112mm)., [2], 179, [1]; [2], 157pp., engraved frontispiece portrait in each volume. Some light foxing in places (mainly in the second volume). Handsome Contemporary tree calf, spines gilt with two black morocco lettering pieces, mottled edges, marbled pastedowns (joints very slightly rubbed).

 

Exeter: printed by Trewman and Son, sold by them , and by Cadell and Davies, 

Rare. WordCat records two copies, one at the BL the other at University of California, Los Angeles.

 

A very handsome presentation copy of Downman's final book.

 

Hugh Downman (1740-1809) was born in Devon and after studying at Balliol College, Oxford and being ordained in 1763 decided to train as a physcian and moved to Edinburgh. He was much influenced by the blind Scottish Thomas Blacklock and began publishing his own poetry in 1768 and, most famously, Infancy which was published in 1774 and re-printed frequently into the 19th century. Downman returned to Devon in 1771 (via time spent studying in London and Cambridge) where he practiced as a popular physician. 

 

The first volume of Poems Sacred to Love and Beauty contains Downman's poem "To Thespia" which had first appeared in 1781. Thespia was Downman's beloved wife, Frances. This volume includes two engraved portraits of Frances as frontispieces. The second volume contains miscellaneous poems which had not been published previously. The collection has very much the feel of a farewell to poetry and the few copies that exist seem to be presented to close friends suggesting a small private print run. Downman died the following year.

 

Provenance: Edward William Leyborne-Popham (1764-1843), presentation inscription "To General Popham / from his friend / the author" in the upper fore-corner of each title-page and small neat book label on the front pastedown of each volume. Later book label of J. O. Edwards.

Stock Code: 215848

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