Lot 47
  • 47

[Swift, Jonathan.]

40,000 - 50,000 GBP
49,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver. For Benjamin Motte, 1726
8vo (183 x 118mm.), 2 volumes, first edition, Teerink's "a" edition, Martha Blount's copy, signed on the upper paste-down of each volume ("Martha Blount | her Book", "Martha Blount"), frontispiece portrait in volume1 in second state (with legend around the oval frame), 5 engraved maps, one engraved diagram, cancels G6 and 2E8 in volume 2, contemporary calf, spines misnumbered in gilt ("1" and "2" reversed), preserved in modern quarter morocco folding box, joints cracked, head and base of spines slightly chipped, corners slightly worn, volume 2 without spine label, very minor wormhole to first three leaves of volume 2, occasional slight spotting to text


Martha Blount (1690-1762), with her signature on each upper paste-down; Michael Blount, her nephew, with the engraved Mapledurham bookplate; Christie's New York, Printed Books and Manuscripts, 9 December 1993, lot 134


Teerink 289; Grolier English 42; PMM 185; Rothschild 2104-6

Catalogue Note

The finest association copy of "Gulliver's Travels" known to exist. No presentation copies of the book are recorded: publication was strictly anonymous, and Swift was long coy about his authorship, even with his intimate friends.

The Roman Catholic gentlewoman Martha ("Patty") Blount (1690--1763) was the closest female friend of Alexander Pope, being the addressee of his Epistle to a Lady: on the Characters of Women (1735), perhaps the most substantial of his many tributes to her qualities (she was also the dedicatee of several of his other works). Martha and her sister Teresa Maria (1688-1759) met Pope around 1707. The sisters effectively constituted "Pope's most intimate link with the Roman Catholic high society which provided the subject of The Rape of the Lock..." (Valerie Rumbold, Oxford DNB). Martha and Pope denied persistent rumours that she had become his mistress, fianceé or secret bride, although it has been said that their relationship was the closest Pope came in his life to a genuine love affair. Upon his death in 1744 he bequeathed her £1,000, sixty of his books, all his household goods and chattels, and the residue of his estate. All of Martha Blount's residual property was left by her to her nephew Michael Blount.