May 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Dorothy Wordsworth's 'Cottonian Bindings'

94.jpgDorothy Wordsworth, bibliocrafter? Yes, says auction house Dreweatts & Bloomsbury of London. These three books belonged to English poet William Wordsworth, and the auctioneer believes that Wordsworth's sister re-bound them. The catalogue copy states, "Wordsworth too seems to have liked the idea of giving his more dilapidated books decorative cloth coverings (a task often performed by the ladies of the house) in order to improve their aesthetic qualities; the sale catalogue of Wordsworth's books mentions that there are 'many, indeed, in quaint Cottonian coverings.'" One, Henry Holland's Some Account of the Life and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio, 1806, bears a presentation inscription with Wordsworth's signature. It will be offered alongside John Dunton's two-volume The Life and Errors of John Dunton, 1818, once belonging to Wordsworth's friend and contemporary Robert Southey (who is said to have prized 'cottonian bindings'). The trio is estimated to fetch $800-1,200 at auction next week.
     The British Library holds a copy (shelfmark c61b14) with similar provenance that it believes was bound by Dorothy as well.

Image Courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury.