Hello dearest Earth dwellers! I bring to you today note of my latest treasure hunt findings, this time round in the form of two beautifully well loved books! Feeling the weight of a sturdy hard back book, it's gently curled and torn front cover, the endearingly faded ink and musty scented pages, this here my friends, is indeed buried treasure!
Whilst on a trip visiting home, family, friends and all the Cadbury's I can store in my delightfully round face, my folks and I took a few day trips here and there, making the most of my being in England. One of our road trips led us to a local gem, Lichfield, although some what tiny for such classification, but a city no doubt, (cathedral and all).
Just a stones throw from my parents house, we headed over to the cobbled streets and trinket full shops of this historically rich place. The relevance of Lichfield, historically speaking is intriguing and much can be researched of it's past, including the bustling development of this thriving coaching city during the 18th century, housing some of the greatest minds of their time, like Erasmus Darwin, Anna Seward and also the writer of the first authoritative Dictionary of the English Language; Samuel Johnson. The home of Samuel Johnson stands in the heart of Lichfield and exists today as a museum exhibiting original artifacts from his life and of course, a second hand book shop! Which is where I picked up this little beauty.
This magnificent book is written by Margaret Sanders and titled Intimate Letters of England's Queens shares with us a collection of endearing correspondence from some of England's most notably discrete royals, allowing us a brief insight into captured moments and personal thoughts of these fascinating women. This copy was published by London Museum Press Limited in 1957 and is a first edition, but I found on Book Depository (link above), that it was re released last year! Great news!
Beginning with Catherine of Aragon and ending with Queen Victoria, Sanders has chosen letters for their romantic or human appeal, rather than historical significance, showing the diverse personalities and nature of each reigning Queen, but has also given the reader some fitting background knowledge illuminating this panorama of three hundred years of English history.
I have yet to read this, so I can't really give you a solid review or my own thoughts on the book, but I can however share with you the passage on the back cover, which is enough to make me cancel all plans for the weekend and fall into this wildly romantic notion of peering behind the velvet curtain;
Memoirs of the Comtesse de Boigne
The Comtesse de Boigne was born in 1781; she died in 1866, having lived through three revolutions and a war that lasted 25 years.
Bought up in the shadow of Versailles, Adèle d' Osmond was the spoilt plaything of Louis XV1 and Marie Antoinette, while in the later years, as Comtesse de Boigne, she moved in the most distinguished circles of the Empire and the Restoration and was intimate with the remarkable men and women who helped to shape the destinies of her country. Writing with wit and a sound judgement of character, she brings to life such illustrious contemporaries as Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles X; the prince Regent of England and his daughter, Charlotte; Talleyrand, Metternich and Castlereagh; Chateaubriand and Madame de Staël.
This book is a fascinating commentary on an age when splendour and tragedy were so closely linked.
On a separate day out with ma and pa, on our way to Worcester for the afternoon, we stopped in one of the local villages at a tiny church fair, with the most curious selection of second hand books on offer. I scored a copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I am currently devouring. Despite loving the movie and now too the novel, it unfortunately happens to be a movie tie in paper back version, so not exactly worth photographing for you. One wonderful book I found that I do want to share with you is this extraordinary and subjective look at the mind behind Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll The Raven and the Writing Desk by Francis Huxley.
This copy happens to be published by Thames and Hudson, London, in 1976. Here is a little something from the introduction to this book, maybe it captures your interest or at least helps explains what drove me to wrestle an OAP to the ground in order to buy it;
Anyone who has enjoyed the adventures of Alice will enjoy and be thoroughly intrigued by this brilliant book. So will those with interests in language, psychology and structuralism, who will appreciate the help that a study of Nonsense can give them. And all those who are attracted by puzzles, games and enigmas will want to know not just how, but in how many ways, the riddle can be solved.
So there you have it, two rather unusual finds but super fascinating subjects with beautifully eye catching covers, tenderly looked after by their previous owners. I look forward to learning more as I read these books, but for now I will be happy to have adopted them into my care.