Lot 190 of 563:
Previously owned by C. G. Thompson, Hawthorne's portraitist  

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Lot closed - unsold
$300 - $500

True Stories from History and Biography

Hawthorne, Nathaniel


Ticknor, Reed, and Fields



Frontis and three plates after illustrations by Hammat Billings. (12mo), original blind-and gilt-stamped red cloth gift binding, gilt lettering, a.e.g. housed in cloth slipcase. First Edition of this collection, which brings together Grandfather's Chair, Famous Old People, Liberty Tree and Biographical Stories. Hawthorne made minor revisions for this edition. Clark A12.1, probable second state; BAL 7655.  

A fine and interesting association copy: on the front free endpaper is the ownership signature of artist and portrait painter "C[ephas] G[iovanni] Thompson / Janry 1851." Bookplate of Carolyn Wells on the front paste-down.  

Hawthorne became friends with Cephas Thompson in Boston in 1850, when Thompson painted Hawthorne's portrait, an engraving of which served as the frontispiece to the 1851 edition of Twice-Told Tales. The friendship grew when they crossed paths again in Italy, and Thompson's family assisted the Hawthornes with their travel arrangements. Thompson's kindness and favors are referred to many times in Hawthorne's Passages from the French and Italian Note-Books.  Hawthorne was also impressed by a copy Thompson painted of Guido's portrait of the famous Italian noblewoman Beatrice Cenci, a character who figures prominently in Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, as does Thompson: during a conversation between Miriam and Hilda in Chapter VII (page 85 of the 1860 edition) about the impossibility of accurately coping Guido's Beatrice, Hilda remarks: “There has been one exquisite copy, I have heard, by an artist capable of appreciating the spirit of the picture. It was Thompson, who brought it away piecemeal, being forbidden (like the rest of us) to set up his easel before it.”

Lot Amendments

Cloth a little darkened and slightly worn; small repairs to the cloth at the head and foot of the spine; very good.

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