MANUSCRIPT CHILDREN'S BOOK.
SINCLAIR, MARGARET. Manuscript entitled "The Story of Almanzor the Brave. Embellished with 8 beautiful pictures. Dedicated to the Young & the Amiable," 35 pp recto and verso, 4to, [England], 1820s (paper watermarked 1821), 5 watercolors and one pencil sketch bound in (not 8 as stated on title), period roan-backed boards, occasional light soiling, rubbed.
Provenance: Bussell Collection (pencil note on front pastedown).
A charming manuscript, perhaps produced by a governess for her charges, and loosely based on the medieval French epic Huon of Bordeaux. The work was revived by the German poet Wieland in 1780 as Oberon, which then achieved popularity in England through translations by Matthew Lewis and others.
The plot of Miss Sinclair's story involves a handsome young knight, confusingly called Almanzor despite his Christian origins, who inadvertently kills his hunchbacked cousin Gothard and is granted a reprieve on condition that he capture a lock of the beard of the Caliph of Baghdad and four of his teeth. On his quest he encounters a fairy dwarf and the Caliph's beautiful daughter Amanda who is about to be forced into an unhappy marriage. Almazor rescues the girl and achieves his task with the help of a magic fiddle (an analogue of Mozart's Zauberflöte) and a bottomless vase of gourmet food.