105
105
Dickens, Charles
AUTOGRAPH DRAFT MANUSCRIPT OF "MRS GAMP WITH THE STROLLING PLAYERS"
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
105
Dickens, Charles
AUTOGRAPH DRAFT MANUSCRIPT OF "MRS GAMP WITH THE STROLLING PLAYERS"
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations, including The Garrett Herman Collection: The Age of Darwin

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Dickens, Charles
AUTOGRAPH DRAFT MANUSCRIPT OF "MRS GAMP WITH THE STROLLING PLAYERS"
here entitled "Mrs Gamp's Account of her connexion with this affair", extensively revised with numerous deletions and interlinear additions, dark brown ink, text on rectos only, with autograph pagination (the final page numbered 3 1/2), 139 lines on 4 pages, unwatermarked light blue paper, quarto (225 x 185mm), c.July 1847, each leaf edge mounted
[bound with:] Mrs Gamp with the Strolling Players: an unfinished sketch by Charles Dickens. New York: privately printed by the Gillis Press for Mr Lowell M. Palmer, 1899, one of 85 copies, but said to be a unique copy in quarto on japan paper, half title, with frontispiece portrait and engraved plate by F.W. Pailthorpe, in red morocco with spine gilt in compartments and inside dentelles by Bradstreet's, in a red morocco backed fold-over box by Sangorski & Sutcliffe for E. Joseph, with, loosely inserted in the box, a letter by R.H. Dodd to Lowell Palmer sending him this book, 15 February 1900
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Provenance

William Wright, sale of his library, Sotheby's, 12 June 1899, lot 437, £78 15s., to Robson; Lowell M. Palmer (bookplate and loosely inserted letter); Swann Galleries, 17 November 1988, lot 52; Jeffrey Young

Literature

Index of English Literary Manuscripts Volume IV, Pt 1, DkC 134

Catalogue Note

A LITERARY MANUSCRIPT BY CHARLES DICKENS WITH EXTENSIVE REWORKINGS. This jeu d'espirit, in the voice of Martin Chuzzlewit's drunken nurse Mrs Gamp, was written to raise £100 for a benefit fund for Leigh Hunt. It followed on from a tour by Dickens's Amateur Players of Liverpool and Manchester in the last week of July 1847 (for a letter organising the trip see lot 109). Dickens summarised his plans for the piece in a letter to John Forster on 4 August 1847: "Mrs Gamp, being on the eve of an excursion to Margate as a relief from her professional fatigues, comes to the knowledge of the intended excursion of our party; hears that several of the ladies concerned are in an interesting situation; and decides to accompany the party unbeknown, in a second-class carriage - 'in case' ... She will describe the whole thing in her own matter: sitting, in each place of performance, in the orchestra, next the gentleman who plays the kettle-drum."

In effect the piece is a series of humorous caricatures of Dickens's friends. Allusion is made to Leigh Hunt and John Poole ("two litter'y men; one as has had his wrongs...and one as has made a many people merry in his time, but is very dull and sick and lonely..."), to George Cruikshank ("a gentleman with a large shirt-collar and a hook nose...and wiskers that I wouldn't have no lady as I was engaged to meet suddenly a turning round a corner"), John Leech ("a tall, slim, melancolly gent"), Mark Lemon ("a fat gentleman with curly black hair and a merry face"), Douglas Jerrold ("that little willain"), Dudley Costello ("a officer-looking gentleman"), Frank Stone ("a fine looking, portly gentleman, with a face like a amiable full moon"), Augustus Egg ("a short mild gent, with a pleasant smile"), John Forster ("This resolute gent...with the tight legs, and his weskit very much buttoned, and his mouth very much shut, and his coat a flying open"), and others, as well as Dickens himself ("the wild gent in the prespiration, that's been a tearing up and down all this time with a great box of papers under his arm, a talking to everybody wery indistinct").

Dickens intended 'Mrs Gamp with the Strolling Players' to be published as a pamphlet with illustrations by Daniel Maclise, Egg, Stone, Leech and Cruikshank. Forster recalls in his Life - where the text was first published - that the project was abandoned after the artists' "desertion". The text in Forster's Life was taken from a proof printing (given by Dickens to his friend Frank Stone and now in Dickens house), not the current manuscript, however the 1899 Gillis Press edition was taken from this manuscript. Margaret Cardwell included the short story in her Clarendon Press edition of Martin Chuzzlewit. Cardwell based her text on the proof but incorporated "clearly authentic readings" from the 1899 edition. She did not have access to the original manuscript, a full and accurate transcription of which remains to be completed. It can, however, be said with certainty that the reference to the white wig 'that Mr Macready went mad in' was indeed introduced by Forster.

LITERARY MANUSCRIPTS BY DICKENS IN PRIVATE HANDS ARE OF THE UTMOST RARITY. With its confident flow and vigorous swirled cancellations, this manuscript gives a privileged insight into the working practices of one of our greatest writers.

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations, including The Garrett Herman Collection: The Age of Darwin

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London