"THYS BOKE IS MYNE"
on exhibit November 13, 2002 through March 1, 2003
Many actors have been collectors
of literature and memorabilia related to the stage. While some actors'
collections are full of tributes and press reviews, others, such as Garrick's
and Kemble's were those of serious book collectors. Garrick's library
of dramatic literature was said to be unrivaled. Kemble took a scholarly
interest in his books, collating them to verify their completeness. Both
were students of their art as well as performers. Sarah Siddons, Kemble's
sister, was also a reader and collector.
Philip Kemble (1757-1832)
Shakespeare. The Late, and
much admired Play, called Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Henry Gosson, 1609.
This remarkably clean copy
of Pericles was owned by the famous actor and book collector, John
Philip Kemble, who notes "Collated & Perfect. J.P.K. 1798"
with "First Edition" at the bottom of the page.
It's a brilliant copy in fine
condition - a specimen Shakespeare quarto. We do not know what Kemble
thought of the play, though presumably not much, since there is no record
of the play among the 25 Shakespearean works he staged at Drury Lane or
Covent Garden over nearly three decades.
Blowup of "Collated & Perfect J.P.K. 1798" on t.p. in STC
22335 c.2 ©
Painting of Kemble as Coriolanus, Pressly Catalogue, Entry 114
I did, indeed, put that nonsense to the press.
John Philip Kemble
John Philip Kemble. Fugitive
Pieces. London, 1780.
Though the poetry in Fugitive Pieces was regretted from the day
of publication by its author, it is now a volume of exceptional rarity.
John Philip Kemble (1757-1833) published the volume of 16 poems in 1780
in an edition of only 200 copies, but "ran, the very morning I saw
it in print, to suppress it," destroying every copy he could lay
his hands on. The pallid love lyrics, possibly written with Mrs. Inchbald
in mind, have been called "among the slightest productions in an
age notorious for slight poetry." As late as 1817 Kemble was burning
any copies he found, so Fanny's copy, signed on the title page and probably
hidden from her father, is among the rarest books in the exhibition and
a superb association copy.
Garrick (1717-1779) and Eva Maria Garrick (1724-1822)
William Shakespeare. Mr. William Shakespeare's comedies, histories, and
tragedies. London: Tho. Cotes, for Iohn Smethwick, 1632.
This copy of the Second Folio
is rich in associations. The bookplate of David Garrick appears over a
printed note telling us the book was
"part of the Library
of David Garrick...bequeathed by Mrs. Eva Maria Garrick...to George
Frederick Beltz [1777-1841], ... one of the Executors of her Will."
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This page updated March 10, 2003