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Neil Pearson Rare Books

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Four Titles, comprising Some Experiences Of An Irish R.M.; Further Experiences Of An Irish R.M.; The Real Charlotte; and Dan Russell The Fox

SOMERVILLE, E. OE, and ROSS, Martin [pseud. MARTIN, Violet] Four 8vos. Original red boards, spine labels to each. Tissue guards to frontispieces. Boards a little bumped, sunned and worn, some light historical water damage to the front board of Further Experiences., but generally a very good set. Line drawings by Edith Somerville. Later editions, uniformly bound, ALL SIGNED BY EDITH SOMERVILLE, AND WITH THE CLIPPED SIGNATURE OF VIOLET MARTIN TIPPED IN TO EACH ALONGSIDE SOMERVILLE'S. Edith Somerville [1858-1949] and her writing partner, her cousin Violet Martin ('Martin Ross') [1862-1915] are best known for writing the Irish R.M. stories together. After Violet's death in 1915 Edith, a regular attender of seances and firm believer in the afterlife, continued to proclaim dual authorship of her books. All four titles featured here were written during Violet Martin's lifetime, and so were genuinely co-authored. Three of these volumes seem to have been prepared and presented by Edith Somerville to the Coghill wing of her family: the English literary scholar Nevill Coghill was Edith's nephew, and one of these titles -- The Real Charlotte -- bears his ownership signature. Quite why Violet's signature had to be gathered from elsewhere, given that she was still alive when these later editions were published, can't now be known, but it seems to have been done by Edith rather than another family member: in The Real Charlotte, Edith has written the word 'and' alongside her signature, suggesting that both signatures, in their different ways, came to appear on the title page at the same time. In the fourth volume -- Further Experiences Of An Irish R.M. -- both authors' signatures have been clipped and pasted in, presumably by a family member. Somerville and Ross books 'signed' by both authors are very scarce. Here are four, with impeccable provenance.
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Commodore Anson’s World Voyage

SOMERVILLE, Boyle Townshend 8vo, pp. 317. Original black boards, lettered in gilt to spine, sea horse device in gilt to front panel. Maps at endpapers. A little rubbed and bumped, but a well preservd copy lacking the dustwrapper. Frontispiece portrait, maps and illustrations. First edition. AUTHOR'S NEPHEW NEVILL COGHILL'S COPY, WITH HIS OWNERSHIP SIGNATURE TO HALF-TITLE. Author's compliments slip pasted in to half-title. Boyce Townshend Somerville [1863-1936] was a distinguished naval officer, retiring in 1919 having attained the rank of Vice-Admiral, and an eminent hydrographic surveyor who mapped the Persian Gulf, the waters of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and much of the British coastline. His published books include dictionaries of Pacific languages encountered during his naval career, as well as works of naval history such as The Chartmakers (1928) and this, penultimate work. His last book was Will Mariner (1934) all but finished at the time of his murder by the IRA for providing references for local boys looking to join the navy, an act which was instrumental in bringing about the IRA's proscription three months later. After her brother's death Edith prepared the book for publication: it duly appeared later the same year. Somerville's nephew Nevill Coghill was the English literary scholar and teacher of W.H. Auden and Richard Burton, among many other. He was Professor of English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford (his ownership inscription here is so addressed). A poignant family association.
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Records Of The Somerville Family Of Castlehaven And Drishane From 1174, To 1940

SOMERVILLE, Edith and SOMERVILLE, Boyle Large 8vo, pp. 134. Original blue three-quarter boards, lettered in back to front panel and black to white to spine. Offsetting to endpapers, boards a little faded, but a very well preserved copy. Photographic fromtispiece and two further photographic illustrations within text. First edition. One of 200 copies. SIGNED BY EDITH SOMERVILLE, AND ADDITIONALLY INSCRIBED TO HER NIECE: 'To K. with love from D. Christmas 1940.' 'D' was the family diminuitive for Edith. The recipient was Katharine Johnston (née Coghill). Somerville and her usual writing partner, her cousin Violet Martin ('Martin Ross') wrote the Irish R.M. stories together. Violet died in 1915, but Edith, firm believer in the afterlife and a regular attender of seances, used the 'Somerville and Ross' authorial description for the rest of her career. Edith's brother Boyce Townshend Somerville [1863-1936] was a distinguished naval officer, retiring in 1919 having attained the rank of Vice-Admiral, and an eminent hydrographic surveyor who mapped the Persian Gulf, the waters of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and much of the British coastline. His published books include dictionaries of Pacific languages encountered during his naval career, as well as works of naval history such as The Chartmakers (1928) and this, penultimate work. His last book was Will Mariner (1934) all but finished at the time of his murder by the IRA for providing references for local boys looking to join the navy, an act which was instrumental in bringing about the IRA's proscription three months later. After her brother's death Edith prepared the book for publication: it duly appeared later the same year. Boyle is here credited with co-authorship, despite having been killed six years before the book's publication. In an explanatory note, Edith writes: 'I undertake this family explanation in remembrance of my brother Boyle, whose great wish it was that all that was known of our Family History should be recorded.' (Why this results in an author's credit rather than a dedication is unclear.) Laid in to the book is a handwritten portion of the Somerville family tree, written on the stationery of Dishane House, Edith's home in County Cork. A wonderful family association.
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The Chart-Makers

SOMERVILLE, Boyle Townshend Large 8vo, pp. 302. Original blue boards, lettered in gilt to front panel and spine. Handmade brown paper dustwrapper, hand written title labels to front panel and spine. Map to front pastedown. A well preserved copy in its homemade dustwrapper, with a large chip to head of spine. Frontispiece and seven further photographic illustrations, most taken by the author. First edition. THE AUTHOR'S SISTER EDITH SOMERVILLE'S COPY, INSCRIBED TO HER BY THE AUTHOR ON FRONT FREE ENDPAPER: 'For Edith from the author Boyle T. Somerville. Dated March 3 1928 in Edith's hand. Coat of arms and author's printed card pasted in to front free endpaper. MANUSCRIPT POEM IN EDITH'S HAND OVER TWO PRELIMINARY PAGES, DATED APRIL 8 1936, REPRODUCING A POEM PUBLISHED IN THE IRISH TIMES FOLLOWING THE AUTHOR'S MURDER BY THE I.R.A. Covered in a handmade brown paper dustwrapper, with title labels in Edith's hand, and her brother's name and her name and address handwritten on front panel. Edith Somerville [1858-1949] is best known as the co-author, with her cousin Violet Martin, of the Irish R.M. stories. Her brother, Boyce Townshend Somerville [1863-1936] was a distinguished naval officer, retiring in 1919 having attained the rank of Vice-Admiral, as well as an eminent hydrographic surveyor who mapped the Persian Gulf, the waters of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and much of the British coastline. His published books include dictionaries of Pacific languages encountered during his naval career, as well as works of naval history such as this volume, an early work in his writing career, Commodore Anson's World Voyage (1934) and Will Mariner (1936), all but finished at the time of his murder by the IRA for providing references for local boys looking to join the navy -- an act which was instrumental in bringing about the IRA's proscription three months later. Following his death Edith prepared her brother's final book for publication. This volume, in Edith's possession since its publication in 1928, carries a poem by G.[eorge] C.[hester] D.[uggan] published in The Irish Times on 8 April 1936, two weeks after her brother's murder. The last stanza of this obituary in verse reads: 'You died for your high faith. The coward blow | That quenched the light when the first spring airs crept | From the restless ocean, left undimmed a star | For men to steer by.' An intimate, poignant association.
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Will Mariner : A True Record Of Adventure

SOMERVILLE, Boyle Townshend 8vo, pp. 370. Original blue boards, lettered in gilt to spine. Illustrated dustwrapper, covered by plain brown paper protective wrapper made by Edith Somerville, with title and spine labels in her hand. Top edge dark red. Browning to preliminaries, but a near fine copy in an unexamined dustwrapper protected by a marked and worn plain brown wrapper with a chip to top edge of rear panel. Dustwrapper designed by Barnett Freedman. Photographs and maps by the author. First edition. EDITH SOMERVILLE'S COPY OF HER BROTHER'S BOOK, SIGNED AND DATED ('October 8 - 1936') BY HER TO FRONT FREE ENDPAPER, AND WITH HER ANNOTATIONS AND ADDITIONS. Edith Somerville [1858-1949] is best known as the co-author, with her cousin Violet Martin, of the Irish R.M. stories. Her brother, Boyce Townshend Somerville [1863-1936] was a distinguished naval officer, retiring in 1919 having attained the rank of Vice-Admiral, and an eminent hydrographic surveyor who mapped the Persian Gulf, the waters of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and much of the British coastline. His published books include dictionaries of Pacific languages encountered during his naval career, as well as works of naval history such as The Chartmakers (1928), Commodore Anson's World Voyage (1934) and this, his final work, all but finished at the time of his murder by the IRA for providing references for local boys looking to join the navy -- an act which was instrumental in bringing about the IRA's proscription three months later. Following her brother's death, Edith prepared Will Mariner for publication: it duly appeared on 8 October 1936. This, her personal copy, has been covered by her in plain brown paper to preserve the (unexamined) dustwrapper, with title labels in her hand added to the front panel and spine. Her ownership signature with the date of publication appears on the front free endpaper, and her brother's signature dated April 1926 has been tipped in to the half-title. On the title page, Edith has added the publication date to the publisher's information, and has also written: '(Accepted for publication in America, by Houghton Mifflin Co: 2 Park St. Boston.) Nov. 18th 1936.' (This US edition duly appeared). At Edith's printed Editor's Note on p.7, she has added: 'Began to work on this book on April 3 1936, accepted by Faber & Faber June 13.', and to the printed list of illustrations and maps on p.15 she has added: 'Photographs & maps by the author.' Boyle's printed card has been tipped in to the foot of the Appendix on p. 370, and an original photograph of Edith with her two dogs is tipped in to the rear free endpaper, the location identified in her own hand as The Admiral's Seat. A very well preserved copy, with an extraordinarily intimate and poignant association.