London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, 1834. Item #00509
Intriguing and Overlooked
Lady Lewis’s Only Novel
[LEWIS, Lady Maria Theresa Villiers Lister]. Dacre: A Novel. Edited by the Countess of Morley. In Three Volumes. London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, 1834.
First edition of Lady Lewis’s only novel.
Three twelvemo volumes (7 3/16 x 4 3/8 inches; 183 x 112 mm.). , 298; , 348; , 347, [1, printer’s imprint] pp. Bound without the half-titles and without the publisher’s catalogue called for by Wolff but not Sadleir.
Contemporary half black calf, ruled in blind, over marbled boards. Smooth spines decoratively tooled in gilt and blind with two dark green morocco gilt lettering labels. Marbled edges. Light rubbing to extremities. Some light foxing and browning, occasional soiling. Early ink armorial ownership stamp (of Viscount Esher?) on front pastedown of each volume. A very good, fresh copy.
First edition of this intriguing and overlooked "silver fork" novel by the wife of T.H. Lister, whose Granby is perhaps the definitive example of the genre, which was "fashionable in the late-1820s and 1830s. Frequently set in the Regency, it was at once escapist in describing former elegance and glitter, anticipating the genre of the Regency Romance, and censorious in judging the frivolities and often supercilious emphasis on the aesthetic rather than the moral that characterized aristocratic high society" (The Victorian Web).
Lady Maria Theresa Lewis (1803-1865), “biographer, was only daughter of George Villiers, third son of Thomas Villiers, first earl of Clarendon, by his wife, Theresa Parker, daughter of the first Lord Boringdon. George Frederick William Villiers, fourth earl of Clarendon, the well-known statesman, was her brother, and she was granted the precedence of an earl’s daughter February 1839. She was born on 8 March 1803, and married for the first time, on 6 Nov. 1830, Thomas Henry Lister, who died in 1842. On 26 Oct. 1844 she married her second husband, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, bart. Lady Theresa had a taste for literature. She was descended in the female line from Edward Hyde, the great earl of Clarendon, whose life was written by her first husband, and in 1852 she published in three volumes ‘The Lives of the Friends and Contemporaries of Lord Chancellor Clarendon;’ the book gives biographies of most of the people whose portraits were to be found in the Clarendon gallery at The Grove, Watford, which had descended successively to her father and brother; the lives of Lord Falkland, Lord Capel, and the Marquis of Hertford occupy the greater part of the volumes. Miss Mary Berry was so well impressed with the undertaking that she bequeathed her papers to Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, Lady Theresa's father-in-law, with the proviso that in the event of his death they were to go to Lady Theresa. Accordingly, in 1865 was published in three volumes ‘Extracts of the Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry from the year 1783 to 1852,’ edited by Lady Theresa Lewis. The work is judiciously done. Lady Lewis also edited a novel by the Hon. Emily Eden, and dramatised two fairy tales for juvenile performers. She survived her husband two years, and died 9 Nov. 1865, at the principal's lodgings, Brasenose College, Oxford” (D.N.B.).
Sadleir 1441. Wolff 4155.