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SHELLEY, Mary & Percy Bysshe.

Autograph letter signed to Claire Clairmont, with a clipped signature of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

[24 South Audley Street]: 2 May 1837 Stock Code: 120615
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A precious relic of the great Romantic love triangle

Mary writes tersely to her stepsister, in response to a request, enclosing a clipped signature of her late husband ("Yours ever faithfully - Percy B. Shelley"), "I hope the person to whom you give it will appreciate it as it deserves - or I should not like to part with it", she adds.

The relationship between the women had been, and continued to be, awkward. At the time of this exchange Mary was living in uncomfortable rented rooms in South Audley Street, still dependent on Sir Timothy Shelley's whim, but Percy Shelley's reputation was on the rise, his atheism forgotten, his radicalism beginning to look far-sighted, and his poetry widely read and discussed. Claire meanwhile was usually in Paris, working as a governess. It was perhaps to impress some contact there that she wanted a sample of Shelley's signature.

In the event, Claire did not give the signature away to another person. Famously, in her later years she became the guardian of a significant amount of valuable Shelley memorabilia and the target of insincere suitors on account of it, the situation that inspired Henry James's novella, The Aspern Papers.

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Single leaf (235 x 185 mm), thrice folded.


Some glue residue to blank portion from having been tipped into an album, a few other very faint marks, very good condition.


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