Memoirs of Wellington or Memoir of the Duke of Wellington
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Baxter's Duke of Wellington (without arm) CL 225 in a copy of Memoir of the Duke of Wellington - Image courtesy of Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

The Centenary Baxter Book by H G Clarke & J H Rylatt published in 1936 contained a piece of information not noted in any of the earlier reference books. It stated that The Late Duke of Wellington (Without Arm) CL 225 was the frontispiece to ‘Memoirs of the Duke of Wellington’ published in 1852. This piece of information has been noted by the New Baxter Society and published in their CD and online catalogues for the last 20 years.

Where did Clarke and Rylatt get their information from? Recently reviewing a small booklet by Rylatt ‘Baxter Print Auction Prices 1934’ (Link 1 below) it noted that this item had gone through the auction house of Puttick and Simpson sometime in the 1933 – 1934 ‘season’. Most probably between August 1933 and July 1934 although this is not categorically stated. It says the book had a publishing date of 1862 but presumably this was an error and corrected in his later book.

I had been searching for a copy of this book for many years but with only the title it wasn’t easy because, as you can imagine, many such books were written about this time, the Duke having died in September of that year, 1852.

Then at the end of last year an interesting item appeared in auction at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers in their 9th Dec 2021 sale. Lot 314 was three books and one was described as:

“[SAMUEL PHILLIPS]: MEMOIR OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, London, Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1852, Baxter coloured portrait frontis - bound in with two other works comprising JOHN CUMMING: WELLINGTON A LECTURE, London, Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co, 1853, new and enlarged edition; JULES MAUREL: THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, HIS CHARACTER, HIS ACTIONS AND HIS WRITINGS, London, John Murray, 1853, 3rd edition enlarged, old half calf, v worn, boards detached”

For reasons I won’t bore you with I missed bidding at the auction and the three books sold for £40. By a quirk of fate, a few days after, the book then appeared on eBay, and guess what, I missed that as well!

Having the actual book would have been good if only to confirm my thoughts that, after having had a chance to see the correct details and images, this book wasn’t quite right.

One of the reasons I had had trouble locating a copy of the book is that it is titled ‘Memoir of…’ rather than ‘Memoirs of…’ as stated in the 1936 book. The subtitle was ‘reprinted from ‘The Times’ Sept 15th, 16th 1852’. I also now knew the author and publisher, within a few minutes I had managed to view a couple of copies of the same book online but neither had a copy of the Baxter print included.

The author’s name helped but even now I can’t find the name of Samuel Phillips on any of the title pages but it must be correct as it led me to find an interesting note in ‘The Book in Britain - A Historical Introduction’ edited by Zachary Lesser in 2019. Talking about ‘cheap publications’ and ‘reaching the mass market’ they referred to:

“The sale of 32,800 copies of Samuel Phillip’s ‘Memoir of the Duke of Wellington’ (1852) in Longman’s ‘Traveller’s Library’ suggests just how popular such texts could be, but a rapid decline in sales left them with almost as many copies unsold (Fyfe 2009, p584)”

One of the online copies I had found still had the original Longman’s Travellers Library’ series covers. Lesser states that this was meant to be a cheap mass market production and the original soft paper cover of this series priced at 1s, the same price as the Baxter print, seems to confirm this. This book in Longman’s traveller series was a cheap mass produced publication so by definition wouldn’t have had a Baxter print frontispiece.

The Keys auction Lot had the soft cover book bound in with two other Wellington publications from a year later and was most probably all bound together along with the Baxter print sometime after 1853. Keys Auction had advised me they felt the print had been ‘tipped in’ i.e. added to the book after binding, the outline of the Baxter print can be seen as offsetting to the title page showing it had been in situ for many years.

It would appear the copy I had found at Keys auction must have been the exact copy that had gone through the auction of Puttick & Simpson and reported as such by Rylatt in his 1934 guide and then in the Centenary Baxter Book two years later.

Is this the only example of one-off Baxter prints that have been bound into volumes and then reported as a rare book by Baxter collectors? Coincidentally The Centenary Baxter Book also reports that The Siege of Sebastopol (CL 199) and an uncut sheet of Allied Sovereigns (CL 142) appears in both the books "The Description and View of the City of Sebastopol" and "Sebastopol", by R. Burford.“ In fact both books are by Burford and I feel they are in fact the same book but poorly reportedly and shows like, memoir and memoirs, how important it is for us all to document things as accurately as we can.

That book would have been made to accompany a visit to a one of Burford’s ‘panoramas’, large scale wide views of various places of interest in Europe. Many like Sebastopol were exhibited at ‘The Panorama Leicester Square’ and were major tourist attractions of the day. Burford had visited the sites of all his panoramas before painted them himself. The one copy of the Sebastopol book I have seen online includes two very wide outline drawings of the panorama showing places or features of interest BUT no Baxter prints!

I have never seen or heard of a copy of this Burford book with the Baxter prints included in the last 35+ years and I feel this could be another example of a one-off book that included some Baxter prints that had been added to the book after publication OR do other copies of these books exists? Hopefully I can be proved wrong