ARNOLD, Matthew.

An amateur manuscript copy of The Forsaken Merman.

1897 Stock Code: 138062
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A unique calligraphic manuscript copy of Arnold's poem "The Forsaken Merman". The present copy includes fine illustrations within ornamental borders, possibly after original designs, in an art nouveau style reminiscent of masters such as Edward Burne-Jones, Robert Anning-Bell, and Walter Crane. We were unable to trace information about the "Dodo" who signed the plates, nor were we able to establish whether they also executed the calligraphy.

This melancholy poem of a merman whose wife leaves the sea, called by the Easter bells, to live on the land, was first published in 1849 in The Strayed Reveller and other Poems "under the pseudonym A, for fear, it was said, of bringing Arnold's father's name into disrepute. In fact, his family was surprised at the evidence of seriousness, yearning, and grief the book displayed" (ODNB).

Provenance: the arts and crafts collection of Kirkton House near Montrose in Scotland.

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Large octavo (248 x 194 mm), manuscript pp. 26 all in black and red on J. Whatman watermarked paper. Contemporary vellum over bevelled boards by the Mayfield Binderies of Heaton Moor, manuscript titles and decorative pictorial design in red and black to front board, untrimmed.


Title vignette and 6 full-page elaborate pen and ink illustrations within decorative borders signed "Dodo" with a dodo design, title page and dedication device in colour and ink, historiated opening initial in red and black, all others in red.


A little rubbed and darkened, front board titles fading, boards slightly splayed, silky cloth reinforcement to three gutters, internally bright and without marks of ownership. A very good copy.


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