Peter Cunningham The Story of Nell Gwyn. (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1852), first edition, 212 pages, hand-tooled morocco binding by Riviera & Son (signed on inside front cover at bottom) with gilt lettering on banded morocco spine, 12mo (5.25" x 7.5"). Marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Extra-illustrated with 73 plates from previous works tipped in. First published in shorter form in The Gentleman's Magazine in 1851. Nell Gwyn is something of an English folk hero. Samuel Pepys called her "pretty, witty Nell" and she had a long-term relationship with King Charles II. She was the Merry Monarch's mistress, and bore him two children. On his death bed, Charles commanded to his brother to "let not poor Nelly starve." The Story of Nell Gwyn was the first modern treatment of the woman said to have embodied the spirit of Restoration England. This copy is fine, with only the slightest corner wear and mild foxing on a few pages. A truly gorgeous book to handle.

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    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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