AUSTEN (JANE) Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO ANNE SHARP
Lot 107
AUSTEN (JANE) Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO ANNE SHARP
Sold for £180,000 (US$ 291,511) inc. premium

Lot Details
AUSTEN (JANE)
Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO ANNE SHARP, inscribed "From the author" by the publisher (on fly-leaf of volume one), and with the signature of Anne Sharp (on the fly-leaf of each volume), half-titles, occasional mainly light foxing and staining, a few corners creased, one or two minor paper flaws, contemporary half calf, gilt panelled spines, rubbed, one or two joints cracked [Gilson A8; Keynes 8; Sadleir 62d], 8vo, John Murray, 1816

Footnotes

  • A NEWLY-DISCOVERED PRESENTATION COPY OF "EMMA" TO JANE AUSTEN'S GREAT FRIEND ANNE SHARP.

    Gilson records no presentation copies having been sold at auction, nor are any traced on ABPC. It is unclear from Gilson how many presentation copies survive [see below], but he notes James Edward Austen-Leigh's set of Emma "is inscribed From the Author, apparently in James Austen's hand" (Gilson, p.435).

    Jane Austen was allocated twelve presentation copies by the publisher John Murray. Of these, nine were sent to family members (including Jane herself), one to the librarian of the Prince Regent (to whom the work was dedicated), and one to Countess Morley, these last under obligation from the publisher. The present copy is the only one given to a personal friend, testament to the strength of Jane's feelings for Anne.

    Austen first made the acquaintance of Anne Sharp (1776-1853) in 1805, at Godmersham, Kent, the home of her brother for whose children Anne was employed as a governess. "In Miss Sharp she found a truly compatible spirit... Jane took to her at once, and formed a lasting friendship with her... [she was in] a unique position as the necessary, intelligent friend" (Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen. A Life, 2000). In 1806 Anne left for the north of England, eventually establishing her own boarding school in Everton. Jane kept up a regular correspondence with her, addressing her as "my dearest Anne". In the last month of her life Jane wrote to Anne "a wonderful letter, written in her best voice, affectionate" which she signs "Sick or well, believe me ever yr attached friend". After Jane's death a lock of her hair was sent, by her sister Cassandra, to Anne.

    Jane took Anne's reactions to her novels seriously, asking her to be "perfectly honest" in her assessments, and noting her comments in her logbook. Anne liked Emma "better than M.P. - but not as well as P. & P. - pleased with the Heroine for her originality, delighted by Mr K - & called Mrs. Elton beyond praise - dissatisfied with Jane Fairfax" (Tomalin, op cit).

Saleroom notices

  • Further provenance for this and the following lot: under the terms of Anne Sharp's will, her books were bequeathed to Richard Withers of Liverpool, a descendant of whom married the current owner's grandfather. We are grateful to Deirdre le Faye for bringing to our attention the connection between Anne Sharp and the Withers family.
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