London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820. First edition of the author’s first publication, which was drawn from the letters that Bray wrote to her mother and brother while on her honeymoon to France with her first husband. Twenty-two plates (including frontispiece), some beautifully hand colored. Plates are by the author’s first husband, the important draftsman Charles Alfred Stothard. Joints expertly reinforced. Remarkably clean and fresh throughout. A very good, very fresh copy. Contemporary sheep over marbled boards. Gilt spine with some cracking to sheep. Octavo. iv, 322 pp. Item #17081
Anna Eliza Stothard Bray, née Kempe (1790 – 1883) published twelve historical novels and twelve works of nonfiction over the course of her career. Her publications included Handel: his Life, Personal and Professional (1859) with John Ward, London’s leading music publisher, and an 1851 biography of Thomas Stothard, her former painting instructor and the father of Charles Stothard. She corresponded with Robert Southey, who encouraged her to publish a collection of stories and information on the history and culture of Devonshire; she published her three-volume collection A Description of the Part of Devonshire Bordering on the Tamar and the Tavy in 1836. One of Bray’s most important works was her posthumous Autobiography (1884). In the ODNB, E. I. Carlyle and Deborah Graham-Vernon write, “[Bray’s] Autobiography, though reticent on personal details and imprecise about the events of her daily life, is an invaluable record of her writing processes and her literary career and as an example of female autobiographical writing in the nineteenth century…As a novelist she aimed to create ‘living history’ in her narratives, and she was careful to construct each novel's period and setting with sufficient accuracy. She was attracted to themes of inheritance in jeopardy, and to obstructions to independence and personal choice.”.