Murray’s Berkshire Architectural Guide.
First edition, first impression. Presentation copy inscribed by Betjeman on the front free endpaper, “To the Master, Incumbent, & Sibyl, from John Betjeman. XIV.IX.MCMXLIX”. The recipient was most likely the Reverend Harton, vicar of Baulking Church, in Betjeman’s home village, and his wife Sibyl. Betjeman and his wife Penelope were friends with the Hartons, and the vicar sent Penelope the following letter after she stepped in to cover organ-playing duties while Sibyl was ill: “My dear Penelope, I have been thinking over the question of playing the harmonium on Sunday evenings here and have reached the conclusion that I must now take it over. I am very grateful to you for doing it for so long and hate to have to ask you to give it up, but, to put it plainly, your playing has got worse and worse and the disaccord between the harmonium and the congregation is becoming destructive of devotion. People are not very sensitive here, but even some of them have begun to complain, and they are not usually given to doing that. I do not like writing this, but think you will understand that it is my business to see that divine worship is as perfect as it can be made. Perhaps the crankiness of the instrument has something to do with the trouble. I think it does require a careful and experienced player to deal with it. Thank you ever so much for stepping so generously into the breach when Sibyl was ill; it was the greatest possible help to me and your results were noticeably better then than now. Yours ever, F.P. Harton”. A wonderful association.
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Tall quarto. Original yellow cloth, titles to spine and upper board in white and black, Uffington White Horse design to upper board in black and white. Illustrations from photographs throughout. Spine faded and a little rolled, cloth rubbed at edges, corners bumped. An excellent copy.