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SHELLEY, Mary.

Six autograph letters signed to Bartolomeo Cini.

Availability: In stock

Published: Florence, Sorrento, & Putney [1843 & 1845]

Stock Code: 130001

£25,000
signed
OR On display in 100 Fulham Road

Notes

A set of six autograph letters signed to the Tuscan nobleman Bartolomeo Cini. The letters make mention of Percy's friendly relationship with Cini's mother-in-law Margaret King, Lady Mountcashel, and reference Claire Clairmont, Percy Florence and his Cambridge friend Andrew Alexander Knox, and include an admission of Mary's dislike of travelling by sea, particularly poignant given Percy had drowned 20 years earlier in a squall near Livorno. Mary Shelley's autograph letters rarely appear on the market, and those in Italian are particularly unusual. Moreover, intact collections of letters to the same recipient are of particular interest.
Cini (1809-1877) was the son-in-law of Margaret King, Lady Mountcashel (1773-1835), whom Percy and Mary Shelley had known as their liberal hostess "Mrs Mason" at Casa Silva, Pisa. Lady Mountcashel had abandoned her title on eloping with the Irishman George Tighe, taking "Mrs Mason" from the governess in Mary Wollstonecraft's Original Stories. As a child in Ireland she had been Wollstonecraft's pupil and protégé, and was glad to reciprocate her governess's care by offering support to the Shelleys and Claire when they arrived in Pisa in 1820, introducing them to a new radical intellectual circle. For his part George Tighe helped to meet Percy Shelley's appetite for information about new scientific researches. Margaret's daughter Nerina married Cini, mentioned by Mary in 1834 as "an amiable & cultivate & rich Italian". He went on to be an important liberal politician and railway financier.
In chronological order, the six letters are as follows:
a)Single bifolium (leaf size: 210 x 134 mm), hand written across three pages, integral address leaf to fourth with red wax seal. Together with a folded slip of paper, annotated in another hand, "Madama Schelly". Florence: 13 March 1843. In the letter Mary broaches the matter of Percy Shelley having been "molto amico della madre di Nerina very friendly with Nerina's mother", and enquires about the possible survival of any letters from Shelley, in spite of the rumour that all the mother's letters had been burned after her death. Mary travelled with her son Percy Florence in Italy in 1840, 1842, and 1843, and recorded her travels in Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844).
b)Single bifolium (leaf size: 129 x 100 mm), hand written across three pages. Via Sistina 64, 3 Piano Rome: 6 April 1843. Discussing social arrangements and stating "Il mio debito bramerei saldare I want to settle my debt".
c)Single bifolium (leaf size: 194 x 128 mm), hand written across two pages, integral address leaf to fourth with red wax seal, postmarked 21 May 1843. Alla Cocumella, Sorrento: 16 May 1843. Thanking Cini for "le lettre che mi ha mandato the letters you have sent me", presumably Shelley's as requested in the previous letter, and stating her intention to stay in Sorrento "twothree or four months", and sending the regards of Percy Florence and his Cambridge friend Andrew Alexander Knox, whom Mary helped in his journalistic career, and who accompanied them on their Italian tour.
d)Single bifolium of thin tissue paper (leaf size: 216 x 138 mm), hand written across two pages, integral address leaf to fourth with red wax seal. Sorrento: 15 June 1843. Complaining of the "pessima reputatzione esateza wretched reputation for accuracy" of the Naples and Sorrento postal service, and informing him of their intention to leave for England soon. She goes on to excuse Sorrento as "veramente un Paradisola sua belta è indicibileviviamo in una pace e tranquilita me molto piacevole; ma Percy e Knox lo trova un po monotono truly a Paradiseits beauty is indescribablewe live in a peace and tranquility that is very agreeable to me; but Percy and Knox find it a little monotonous".
e)Single bifolium (leaf size: 197 x 140 mm), hand written across two pages, integral address leaf to fourth with red wax seal. Sorrento: 10 July 1843. Relating the arrival (all at once) of Cini's long-awaited letters, mentioning her plans to leave, pass by Livorno to pay her debt, and hoping to see Nerina again. She notes, "mi dispiace tanto viaggare mare in tempo cattivo I dislike travelling by sea in bad weather very much".
f)Single small bifolium (leaf size: 113 x 90 mm), hand written across four pages. Putney: January-April 1845? Inviting Cini, before he leaves London, to attend a dinner party: "e preghero la Chiara anche di venire e si fara una piccola reunion di amiciToscanese per cosi dire I shall beg Claire to come as well and we shall have a small reunion of friendsin the Tuscan fashion so to speak".

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Description

6 autograph letters signed "M Shelley", between two and four pages in length (described in detail below).

Condition

All creased from folding as usual, with a few small areas of loss to corners not affecting text, and the occasional spot, else very good.

Delivery

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