Lot 363 of 613:
Most unattainable of Robert Louis Stevenson's works  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$3,000
$5,000 - $8,000

An Object of Pity, or, The Man Haggard: A Romance by Many Competent Hands [Together With] Objects of Pity, or, Self and Company by A Gentleman of Quality

[Stevenson, Robert Louis, et al]

Amsterdam [but Sydney, Australia]

Privately printed



Two volumes. 77 pp; 55 pp. (8vo), original red card covers with French-fold parchment dust-wrappers printed in gilt, a.e.g., both in separate folding red-cloth chemises, the whole enclosed in a matching morocco-backed slipcase with titles in gilt in six compartments on the spine. First Editions.

With additionally a laid-in typed booklet (5 pp.) entitled ‘Key to “An Object of Pity,”‘ and a single folded typed page delineating the “cast” of authors. The first volume has the Robert Louis Stevenson bookplate affixed to the verso of the cover, signed by his step-daughter Isobel Osbourne Strong and with several handwritten notations by his step-son and frequent collaborator, Lloyd Osbourne.

In August 1892 Robert Louis Stevenson was residing in Samoa with his wife and step-children, along with his cousin Graham Balfour (who later became his biographer). In conjunction with visitors from home, the household entertained itself by producing a “joint-stock” novel in which all contributors were to imitate the style of Ouida (Maria Louisa Ramee). They chose as “hero” Mr. Bazett Michael Haggard, the British Land Commissioner, their neighbor and friend. When the book was completed An Object of Pity, or, The Man Haggard was read aloud to Mr. Haggard, who retaliated to the good-natured pillorying he had received at his friends’ hands with Objects of Pity, or, Self and Ccompany.

Privately printed by the Countess of Jersey (one of the participants in the shenanigans) at Sydney, with the false imprint as Amsterdam. Writing in 1902, Edmund Gosse called An Object of Pity “the most unattainable of R.L.S.’s productions;” it is speculated that only 35 copies were printed. This copy from the Stevenson family’s own library (after his death Isobel Strong sold the family library at auction placed these bookplates in volumes to “assist” their value), and is signed by her and additionally has several notations in the hand of Lloyd Osbourne: On the contents page he identifies who each writer actually is, and he has made notations in several subsequent page margins. Prideaux/Contributions 11; Colbeck 102; Beinecke 853.

Lot Amendments

Slipcase rubbed at edges; chemises faintly rubbed at covers, one satin ribbon pull torn; rubbing/soiling to parchment covers.

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