WANTED! ~ Books with Montagu George Knight Bookplates

Calling all Booksellers, Librarians, Bibliophiles

Wanted !

The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society*

Cordially invites you to join in the

Global Search

For all books bearing

Montagu George Knight bookplates**

Please help us return these books to the fold

at the

Chawton House Library Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, UK

* The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS) is a research group of scholars and bibliophiles searching for all books that were originally in the libraries of Godmersham Park and later Chawton House, both estates of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight.

**The three Knight bookplates were all designed by Charles Sherborn in 1900 / 1901:

Bookplate 1

Bookplate 2

Bookplate 3

***********

1.  The History:  

Edward Austen Knight inherited three estates from his adoptive family the Thomas Knights: Godmersham Park in Kent, and Chawton House and Steventon in Hampshire. Godmersham and Chawton had large extensive libraries typical of the gentry of the time. Edward had a catalogue of the Godmersham Library compiled in 1818, listing about 1250 titles. These books were later combined with the Chawton House Library when Godmersham was sold in 1874, with many of the volumes sold or otherwise distributed over the years. [Montagu George Knight, grandson of Edward Knight, placed his bookplates in most of the books of this combined library, as well as in the books he added to it. The remaining library (called the “Knight Collection” and still in the family) is now housed at Chawton House Library, which serves as an important literary heritage site and a center for the study of early women writers]. We know Jane Austen spent a considerable amount of time in both these libraries – and an ongoing project has been to try to locate the missing volumes that have wandered away and might still be extant in libraries, in book collectors’ homes, or on bookseller shelves – the “Lost Sheep” of Godmersham Park.

2. The Digital Godmersham Project:

Initiated and run by Professor Peter Sabor (Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Director of the Burney Centre at McGill University), this is a web-based open-source project that will include the Knight family books that are recorded in the catalogue of 1818, as they were on the shelves – a virtual library so to speak. This Phase I of the project will launch in 2018, the bicentenary of the original catalogue. While it would be a final goal to locate all the missing titles that are out there, this digital project will create for us what Jane Austen would have seen and read when visiting her brother.

3. What we need:

If you have or locate any books with any of the three Montagu George Knight bookplates, please contact us – we would like good pictures of:

a.) the binding/cover;

b.) the inside cover of the book, where Montagu Knight’s bookplate should be attached, often together with a small shelf ticket from Chawton House Library; and

c.) the title page of the book.

These three pictures would be used on the website, with or without your name as the book’s current owner/location (this is up to you).

4. Donation / sell options:

Some of those found thus far have been privately purchased and donated back to the Chawton House Library (they do not have funds for this project). If you would like to “return” the book to Chawton to be part of their permanent collection, you would become one of GLOSS’s Team Heroes and we would be forever grateful. All donations are tax-deductible. Or, if you would consider selling the book back to CHL now or in the future (or making a donation to the cause so we can purchase books as they become available), we would add it to our wish-list of purchases and ask that you send the pictures noted above so it can be added to the website. Progress is slow, and because every book may not be able to return home, we hope this virtual library will serve as a useful research tool for future studies of reading habits in the 18th and 19th centuries.

***************
[CHL book with bookplate and shelf ticket]

Thank you for any help you can offer! 

For more information, please contact one of us:  

  1. Janine Barchas – Professor, University of Texas at Austin:
    barchas [at] austin.utexas.edu
  2. Deborah Barnum – Board Member, North American Friends of Chawton House Library: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com
  3. Peter Sabor – Professor, Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Director of the Burney Centre, McGill University: peter.sabor [at] mcgill.ca
c2017 JaneAusteninVermont

Austen on the Block! ~ A First Edition Emma, Or, Where an Interesting Bookplate Might Take You…

UPDATE:  I posted the results here: it sold on March 19, 2013 at Bonham’s London for £8,125 (inc. premium) or about $12,312.

******************

Jane Austen will again make an appearance in the upcoming Bonham’s auction on March 19, 2013: a first Edition Emma – here are the details:

Emma bonhams 3-2013Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Historical Photographs, No. 20751. 19 Mar 2013 14:00 GMT London, Knightsbridge

Lot 6: AUSTEN (JANE).

Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, half-titles in volumes 2 and 3, spotting, one gathering working loose and blank lower margin torn away from advertisement leaf at end of volume 3, one front free endpaper near detached, bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe”, contemporary half calf, gilt lettering on spines, headbands frayed (volume 2 with small loss at head and foot of backstrip) [Gilson A8; Keynes 8], 8vo, John Murray, 1816.

Estimate:  £4,000 – 5,000; €4,600 – 5,800;  US$ 6,100 – 7,700

Now this appears to be the same copy that did not sell at the Bonham’s November 13, 2012 auction where the estimates were substantially higher:
£6,000 – 8,000; €7,400 – 9,900;  US$ 9,500 – 13,000

********************

My interest lies in the bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe” – always curious to see where a book has been and where it heads, and who are the participants in the story; it is often hard to track this information accurately unless a written provenance accompanies the book.  In this case it appears that all we have is this bookplate, and my research takes me thus, a very quick summary: [i.e how a whole afternoon can be spent tracing some stranger’s life and how it all can lead one down unimagined paths with only more extensive research to be undertaken …]

John Hawkshaw - wikipedia

John Hawkshaw – wikipedia

John Hawkshaw (1811 – 1891) was a British civil engineer from Yorkshire who was the chief engineer of a number of the railway lines in the Manchester area, later London, as well as responsible (some say the “saviour”) for the completion of the Suez Canal.  He was knighted in 1873. He lived at Hollycombe, his country estate in Liphook, Hampshire, purchased from Charles William Taylor in 1866. (To add to the confusion, the book titled A History of the Castles, Mansions, and Manors of Western Sussex, by Dudley George Cary Elwes, and Charles John Robinson (London, 1876), notes two other properties purchased by Hawkshaw from Taylor, so more research needed here.]

Hollycombe today is privately owned, but the pleasure gardens, expanded by Hawkshaw and more fully landscaped by his son [more on him below] are open to visitors, as is the nearby Hollycombe Steam Museum.

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Their London home was in Belgrave Mansions, St. John’s Wood High Street, close to Bond Street in the heart of the West End.

But did John Hawkshaw read his copy Jane Austen’s Emma, or was his bookplate just really an owner stamp, and the real reader in the house was his wife Ann Hawkshaw? (though it is nice to imagine them all reading it aloud.)

a modern reprint

a modern reprint

Ann Hawkshaw (1812 – 1885) was an English poet. She published four volumes of poetry between 1842 and 1871. She married our John Hawkshaw in 1835 and they settled in Salford, near Manchester, where they mixed with the prominent thinkers of the day to include William and Elizabeth Gaskell. Her first volume of poetry Dionysius the Areopagite’ with Other Poems was published in 1842, followed by Poems for My Children in 1847. Sonnets on Anglo-Saxon History was published in 1854, and retells the history of Britain up to the Norman Conquest.

John Clarke Hawkshaw

John Clarke Hawkshaw

The Hawkshaws had six children, the most well-known was John Clarke Hawkshaw (1841-1921), who like his father was a civil engineer. In 1865 he married Cicely Wedgwood (1837-1917), daughter of Francis Wedgwood (1800-1880), grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the famed pottery firm. Francis’s sister Emma Wedgwood (1808-1896) married her cousin Charles Darwin (they were first cousins: Wedgwood’s daughter Susannah was Darwin’s mother). Emma was therefore Cicely’s Aunt and we can find this letter penned to her in the online Darwin Correspondence Project:

Hollycombe. | Liphook. | Hants.

Dear Aunt Emma

I am afraid it is too late to notice about the baby’s tears with any accuracy for I have repeatedly seen her eyes full of tears already but can give no nearer date than that I must have seen them so before she was 3 weeks old; about the tears overflowing onto her cheeks I can observe as I have never seen it happen yet, indeed it hardly happens in what one may call babydom does it?

We are having such a nice holiday here and as all the tiresome shooting is over I have Clarke to myself and we ride and walk about and don’t feel such strangers to the place as we did and the idle thoughtless life is doing Clarke good I am thankful to say.

Believe me dear Aunt Emma | Your affecte niece | Cicely M Hawkshaw

9th Feb. [1868]

Emma Darwin, 1840 - by George Richmond

Emma Darwin, 1840 – by George Richmond

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So from this letter we know that John Clarke Hawkshaw was known as Clarke and that he was able to get away to the family home and enjoy some “idle thoughtless life”! [images of Downton Abbey!]

Such a dizzying trip from a simple bookplate in a first edition of Jane Austen! – we have encountered various British luminaries ranging from railroad and canal engineers, to literary and Unitarian connections in Manchester, to country estates in Hampshire [Jane’s own territory], to the Wedgwood Potteries of London, and ending with Evolution, all in one family’s connections.  It is comforting to think that this copy of Emma was read, enjoyed and discussed, and passed along to succeeding generations of this great family!  I wonder where it will end up come March 19th? … stay tuned!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont