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(WELLINGTON, Arthur, Duke of) GURWOOD, John (ed.)

The Dispatches of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington...

during his various campaigns in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, The Low Countries, and France, from 1799 to 1818. Compiled from Official and Authentic Documents. [With:] The General Orders of Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington... in Portugal. Spain, and France, from 1809 to 1814; in the Low Countries and France, in 1815; and in France, Army of Occupation, from 1816 to 1818.

Availability: In stock

Published: London John Murray (General Orders: W. Clowes and Sons), 1837-8

Stock Code: 127262

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


The New Edition, complete with the index and the volume of General Orders. Indispensable for the study of Wellington's campaigns, and perhaps the only source for the occasional glimpse of the man. This is a particularly handsome set, bound by Francis Bedford, "considered the leading English bookbinder of his time, surpassed only by the best French binders" (ODNB); although unsigned, this set was put up for auction with a near-matching set of Napier's History of the War in the Peninsula (1832-40), which was signed by Bedford and utilised the same tools. Provenance: attractive engraved armorial roundel bookplates of Sir Henry Hope Edwardes (1829-1900), of Wootton, Derbyshire, a noted bibliophile, the sale of whose "choice and valuable library", auctioned by Christie's in 1901, was reported in The New York Times, which noted the sale total as 55, 000 (approximately 1.5 million in modern terms).

The editor, John Gurwood (1790-1845), had served "in all the Peninsular engagements down to the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 January 1812, where he led the 'forlorn hope' He was concussed in the breach from a head wound, but after regaining consciousness made his way to the citadel and took prisoner the governor, General Barrié, at dinner. The governor surrendered his sword, which Gurwood presented to Wellington. It was returned to him next day when Lord Fitzroy Somerset buckled it on Gurwood in the breach where he had been wounded" (ODNB). Gurwood was wounded three times in the Peninsula, and severely so at Waterloo, in 1837 he became one of Wellington's secretaries, "and was entrusted with the editing of the duke's general orders and selections from his dispatches. Gurwood and the duke were old friends, the duke taking care of Gurwood. He was made CB and in 1839 was appointed a deputy lieutenant of the Tower of London with a salary of 768 p.a., as well as a pension of 2000. However, Gurwood's closing years were clouded by ill health, partly as a result of his war wounds and partly because of the strain of editing the Dispatches. This resulted in a severe depressive illness, and on Christmas day 1845 Gurwood committed suicide" (ibid.).

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13 vols., octavo (220 x 133 mm). Mid-19th century calf by Francis Bedford, richly gilt spines with scrolling foliate motifs, red and dark green morocco twin labels, two-line gilt border on sides with small corner rosettes, richly gilt turn-ins, marbled edges and endpapers.


Some staining to front cover of vol. II, slight bump to spine of vol. IV, joints of vol. XII partially split but quite sound, a few general light abrasions, scattred foxing. A very attractive set.


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