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HARDY, Thomas.

Life's Little Ironies....

A Set of Tales with some Colloquial Sketches entitled A Few Crusted Characters.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., 1894

Stock Code: 127692

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author to Consuelo Montagu, the Duchess of Manchester, on the front free endpaper: "To The Duchess of Manchester From Thomas Hardy. Feb. 1894". The copy was specially bound for the Duchess, with the crowned letter "M" in gilt on the front cover, and with her bookplate to the front pastedown. Born on a Louisiana plantation to an aristocratic Cuban father and a New England mother, Maria Consuelo Yznaga del Valle (1858-1909) married George Montagu, Viscount Monteville and later 8th Duke of Manchester, in 1876. She was a fixture of London salon life, and following her husband's death in 1892 she became one of the most prominent social hostesses of her era. Sargent painted her portrait, and Edith Wharton based the character of "Conchita Closson" in The Buccaneers on her. Hardy encountered her in the salons and, per Millgate, once heard her give an impressive recitation of the entirety of "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" at Thomas Gray's grave.
Presentation copies of this work are rare. Hardy's bibliographer Purdy knew of four, inscribed to Gosse, the Earl of Pembroke, Sir Francis Jeune, and the publisher Clarence McIlvaine. We have additionally handled copies presented to the Countess of Malmesbury and Lord Houghton.

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Octavo (184 x 119 mm). Contemporary green half calf, spine lettered in gilt, marbled sides and endpapers. Housed in a custom blue cloth box, spine lettered in gilt.


Light rubbing to extremities, joints beginning to split but still firm. A very good, attractive copy.


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