A Decade of Collecting:
Celebrating Ten Years of Acquisitions, 1990-1999

June 28, through November 25, 2000
Werner Gundersheimer, Richard Kuhta, Laura Cofield, Melissa Cook, Curators

From Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599).The Shepheardes Calender.London: Hugh Singleton, 1579©

The Shepheardes Calender established Spenser's poetic genius among his contemporaries. It tells the story of Colin Clout, a lovelorn shepherd who laments ill treatment from his beloved Rosalind. Presented as a narrative in twelve eclogues-each month written in a different meter-the simple tale is a poetic tour de force. One of only seven extant copies of the first edition, the Folger copy is unique, the only one with the final quire in an early uncorrected state.


From Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599). Amoretti and Epithalamion. [London]: Printed for William Ponsonby, 1595

In the Amoretti, a sonnet sequence, Spenser records his wooing of Elizabeth Boyle (named in sonnet 74), who became his wife on June 11, 1594 while he was posted in Ireland. Their union is celebrated in one of the greatest lyrics in English poetry, Epithalamion, a marriage ode. The Folger's copy is one of only six complete copies of the first edition.


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677).Anna Bvllen Regina Angliae Henrici VIII.[London], 1649



Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, was executed in 1536 on a charge of adultery. Hollar's etching of her is based on Holbein's drawing formerly in Lord Arundel's collection. The portrait is an example of Hollar's careful attention to the details of clothing and jewelry.


From Louise Labé (1526?-1566).Œuvres de Louise Charly, Lyonnoise, dite Labé . . .Lyon: Les Freres Duplain, 1762


Only 525 copies of this exceptional volume of the collected writings of French feminist and poet Louise Labé were printed. Editions of Labé's collected works are very scarce; they were published only in 1555, 1556, and in this edition of 1762.



© Enamel Portrait of Mrs. Siddons.1798


After an unsuccessful London debut which drove her to the provinces, Sarah Kemble Siddons (1755-1831) played to adoring audiences in Bath and the midlands before returning to triumph in Garrick's production of The Fatal Marriage in 1782. Over her long and brilliant career, Siddons became London's "Tragic Muse," winning the highest possible accolades for her roles as Lady Macbeth, Queen Catharine (Henry VIII), and Volumnia (Coriolanus). Bowing to write his name on the hem of her dress, Dr. Johnson said, "I could not lose the honor this opportunity offered. . . for my name going down to posterity on the hem of your garment." (Boswell's Life. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934-1950, IV, 242, n.2)