Lot 224 of 302:
Most unattainable of Robert Louis Stevenson's works inscribed with letters  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$3,300
$4,000 - $6,000

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

Amsterdam [but Sydney, Australia]

Privately printed



2 volumes. 75; 55 pp. 17.5x13 cm (6¼x5") original card covers with French-fold parchment dust-wrappers printed in gilt, all edges gilt; both in separate folding chemises and slipcases; 1st vol. with morocco slipcase decorated in gilt, 2nd vol. with quarter morocco and cloth slipcase, spine decorated in gilt. First Editions.

This copy of Object of Pity is from the library of author Charles Warren Stoddard,  with his signature on the inside front cover and a presentation inscription to him on the title page apparently from Robert Louis Stevenson, seemingly signed as "Teuila," a pen name used in the book: "[Vailimia?] April 24th, 1893, Samoan Islands - To Charlie from *Teuila - *The adorner not the adorer of this [?]." Included are 2 single sheet holograph letters from Stevenson to Stoddard; one is tipped in, the other loose. The contents page is annotated in manuscript, noting the author of each chapter. “The most unattainable of R.L.S.’s productions.”

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

Both vols. with toning and light wear to dust wrappers; Object of Pity top board detached but present, chipping and browning to dustwrapper, areas of loss to spine strip; else very good.

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