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Commonplace book.
Physical Description:
1 volume (approximately 200 pages) : illustrations ; 20 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
PN6245 .C66 1874 Flat A
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Bound in contemporary green gilt-tooled morocco.
The volume bears a dedicatory inscription on one of the preliminary leaves, reading: "To Rosie with Charlie's best wishes, Dec. 31st, 1874." It opens with a verse written by Charlie dated 12/31/1874 and titled "The Closing Year," in which he muses on the year's end and the "whispers of farewell!" This entry faces a chromolithographed illustration that includes text from Psalm 9--coupling personal reflections with Christian imagery, a theme that continues throughout the volume. Following this are engraved portraits of highly decorated military officials, and then verse on a "Women's Heart." The content throughout continues remains varied, with personal journal entries, copied texts, watercolors, ink drawings, postcards, calling cards, pressed leaves and more. The free form of these pages speaks to way in which they capture everyday life in the smallest of details.
An early page has pasted in a watercolor of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's cottage in Clevedon, in the county of Somerset. This image is signed E.S.R., like many of the other images but the full-name of this person has not been identified. Samuel rented the cottage from 1797 to 1800 while writing some of his famous works. During this time, Samuel's friend and colleague William Wordsworth visited and stayed for a time to write alongside him. Though the friendship long predates this commonplace book, there is perhaps a vestige of the relationship to be found here. Several pages later there is a folio dedicated to William Wordsworth that includes a portrait, his name and the sketch of a cottage, which very well may be the same one found in the earlier watercolor.
One particularly notable medium found in this volume is cutouts, white paper cutouts on the pastel background of the journal's pages creating an experience of nearly reverse decoupage. This technique appears somewhat new to the artist, who is practicing--with varying degrees of success--using cutouts to represent people. Another medium explored in this volume is collage. In one example, a pressed fern has been pasted on top of the watercolor of a log creating a three-dimensional expression of the scene. Again, like so many illustrations in this volume, it is signed E.S.R.
The volume includes a number of samples of (or references to) the works of British artists, including Angelica Kauffman, Marion Adams, and Samuel Shelley. It ends with the text of Henry Glassford Bell's "Mary Queen O Scots"; Bell died in 1874--the same year in which this volume was gifted.
Subject Terms:
English poetry -- 18th century.
English poetry -- 19th century.
Women in natural history.
Commonplace books.
Graphite drawings.
Botanical illustrations.
Collages (visual works)
Cut-paper works.

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