The Personal History of David Copperfield. London: Chapman and Hall;and Bradbury and Evans, 1859
8vo (195 x 122 mm), volumes XV and XVI of the Library Edition of The Works of Charles Dickens, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR ON TITLE PAGE OF THE FIRST VOLUME (“The Rev. T. W. Goldhawk | From Charles Dickens | Third March 1864.”), AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY DICKENS PRESENTING THIS COPY TO GOLDHAWK TIPPED IN (Gad's Hill Place, 2 March 1864, blue ink on mourning paper, address printed in black and with black mourning border, integral blank leaf, upper panel of envelope addressed by Dickens mounted and tipped in), half-titles, engraved title-pages, 12pp. publisher’s catalogue at end of volume 2, dark red crushed morocco, spines gilt in six compartments, gilt-ruled borders, gilt turn-ins, top edges gilt, by Riviere, each volume in red cloth chemise, both contained within specially made quarter red morocco slipcase, skillfully rebacked with the original spines preserved, new endpapers and flyleaves, slight damp-stains to title-pages, slight stains to letter
A POIGNANT PRESENTATION COPY OF THE AUTHOR'S "FAVOURITE CHILD" INSCRIBED TWO MONTHS AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS SECOND SON WALTER AGED ONLY 22.
In the letter to Goldhawk Dickens writes: "I hope you may not have thought me unmindful of your pleasant letter, or unwilling to comply with its request. Several circumstances have combined of late to render me even less available than usual for letter-writing. With this I have the pleasure of sending you a copy of David Copperfield. My two daughters (the younger married) beg me to convey to you their kind regard. A poor boy [his second son Walter, age 22] whom you christened died in India, grown a man, on the last day of this last old year. All my other sons are well and working their various ways." A very apt gift from Dickens, who often referred to the autobiographical David Copperfield as "my favourite child." Among the “several circumstances” were three deaths that deeply affected Dickens. It was on his birthday, 7 February, that he had learned of the sudden death on 31 December 1863 of his son Walter, who had been serving with the army in India since 1857. In September 1863 his mother, long sunk in hopeless senility, had died. And a week before the death of Walter — on Christmas Eve —Thackeray died at his home. Just a few days earlier there had been a reconciliation between the two authors. After seeing Walter off on his voyage to India back in July 1857, Dickens wrote of the leave-taking: it was like "having 'great teeth drawn with a wrench' ... and wondered whether 'the best definition of man' might not be that he was 'a parting and farewell-taking animal' (Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens, vol. 2, pp. 875–76).
The Rev. Thomas Woods Goldhawk (?1813-70), previously of Worcester College, Oxford, was Vicar of Sheldwich in Kent between 1850 and 1870.
Rev. T.W. Goldhawk, authorial presentation inscription and accompanying letter; the The Library of Maurice F. Neville, part I, sale at Sotheby's New York, 13 April 2004, lot 45
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