PERKIN, Sir William Henry, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts



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PERKIN, Sir William Henry (1838-1907). Chemist.
Autograph Letter Signed to [?Robert] Warington (1807-1867, chemist), 1 page 8vo, The Chestnuts, Sudburg, Harrow, 16 June 1886. Arranging meetings of the Chemical Society and apologising that he will be occupying most of the next meeting, leaving no time for Warington's paper.

Ruskin first met Lily Armstrong when she was a 12-year-old schoolgirl at Winnington, the girls' boarding-school in Cheshire run by the financially inept Margaret Alexis Bell with considerable interest and assistance from Ruskin himself. He was a regular visitor to the school, where he not only proceeded with OWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOWWOW  Y
Nicholas Kilburn (1843-1923), an amateur musician from Bishop Auckland in Durham, became a close friend of Elgar's and corresponded with him over many years. Several letters from Elgar to Kilburn are published in Letters of Edward Elgar, ed. by Percy M. Young, although not the present example. The Elgars had gone to Italy for the winter and had just settled into their villa, where Alice rearranged the rooms so that Edward could work upstairs as he preferred, and they had hired a piano.
'... I fear it will be quite impossible for me to visit you next year, that is in the first half of it. I have so much to do in March & April. I am so sorry as we shd. have loved to be with you & yours: don't wait for me however: conduct it yourself & it will be all the better! ...'

[No: 24500]


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Gertrude Peppercorn recorded a number of piano rolls early in the twentieth century. Some of these recordings appear to be still available in 2010.

£38 [No: 24514]Email about this entry
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Ruskin first met Lily Armstrong when she was a 12-year-old schoolgirl at Winnington, the girls' boarding-school in Cheshire run by the financially inept Margaret Alexis Bell with considerable interest and assistance from Ruskin himself. He was a regular visitor to the school, where he not only proceeded with his own writing but joined in games and dancing with the girls. His friendship with Lily lasted long beyond her schooldays and after her marriage, and was evidently deeply affectionate on both sides, despite occasional moments when Ruskin felt himself neglected. He confessed himself not a little in love with Lily, and she confiding to him as late as 1887 that she not only kept all his letters but regularly read them through at night before going to bed and that 'I often put them back in their bag with red eyes, having had a good cry over them, but I love them with all my heart' (Lily to JR in the John Rylands Library).
 The fact that eleven of these letters are not published with thirty-nine or so other letters from Ruskin to Lily in The Winnington Letters, ed Van Akin Burd, is largely explained by their later date, outside the Winnington period, but they are a very important addition to the known calendar of his letters and help to complete the picture of a friendship of the first importance in his life.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo with blank leaf, ca September 1864 [published from Cook and Wedderburn transcripts in the Bodleian Lib"CW/Bod), Winnington Letters (WL) page 514].
'It happens so nicely, I am going up to the Crystal palace to-day to draw the Egyptian Lily properly - it is the loveliest flower I have ever seen - on earth - in water or in air. I can't possibly come to Winnington until I know all about it - and some other charming Egyptian things - so you & Egypt will have it all to yourselves this next time - (and won't we lock the others up) (that's written in a whisper, you know)...'
Ruskin had been about to write to Greenfield Sutton (a family home either near Dublin or in West Sussex) to ask when she was returning; Miss Bell says she has grown tall; 'please don't spell Lilly with two Ls'.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages 8vo (signature cut out), Denmark Hill, 22 August 1868 [unpublished].
'Joanna is in Scotland [footnote I send your letter instantly to her], and I am on the point of leaving town for the Continent. I thought you would 'give me - under these conditions - so much disloyalty as was involved in looking if there was any pretty little word for me, when your letter arrived last night. ...'
Ruskin enquires anxiously about her father's health and asks her to write to him:
'... and tell me too - the little bit of news - which you were going to tell the "dear old thing" - and yet did not? - and impose whatever penance you will for my faultful peep at this letter ...'
"Ever your affectionate Birdie'), 1 page 8vo (trimmed at top and bottom), no place, no date (presumably 1869 - Lily was born in 1852) [unpublished].
'I .. am mightily afflicted at your being 17. I wish you could always stay my little school-Lily - I shall never find such another - now.
 God keep you happy and childlike, (in His meaning of "child") always. ...'

He also sends an autograph ('a noble name'), no longer included.
Autograph Letter Signed ('Birdie'), 4 pages 8vo with envelope, Denmark Hill, 25 February 1869 [CW/Bod, WL pages 652-653].
A letter of sympathy on the death of her father (mistakenly, he did not die until 26 August 1880 [WL]), inviting her to Denmark Hill where 'the garden ... is just going to be very beautiful' and expressing the hope that his mother would take to her.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo with blank leaf, Verona, 'Thursday', 15 July 1869 [unpublished].
He is hoping for another letter from her, but about to leave for Venice.
'... It makes me glad though that you turn to me in this trusting way when you are ill or suffering. I like you to feel that I would always do all I could to save you from pain - or give you relief in sorrow ... it will make me cheerful if you tell me that the illness is of no consequence - but if otherwise - and you are obliged to live for some time an almost sedentary life - as is possible - I will try to interest you and form some plans for you on the sofa ... .'
Mrs Norton's letter is 'lovely' also, but how is it that Lily can write such pretty letters herself when she left the impression [at Denmark Hill] that she did not care for himself or Joanna.
Autograph Letter Signed ('your loving old Birdie J Ruskin'), 2 pages 8vo, Venice, 7 August 1869 [unpublished].
He reiterates his thanks for her lovely letter and assures her of his wish to help her in her pain:
'... and many other things I would have you made sure of; - as sure, as you are already -(though you are so naughty as to pretend you are not-) that I like 18s and 19s as well as 12s and 13s - and all kinds of Lilys whatsoever - red or white - I am well punished for not being content with the one I had, by its getting pale and thin. I must have it again at Denmark Hill. ...'
Autograph Letter Signed (to 'my darling little Bear ... ever your loving Birdie J Ruskin'), 2 pages 8vo with envelope, Denmark Hill, 14 December 1869 [unpublished].
'I am so very glad of your letter, for I am to you - just what you think I am - and it is so delightful to be thus trusted. ... You know - little Bear, - that I thought I had never seen anything in it way - quite so pretty as a little Bear I once saw dressed in satin. But I think that - at Drawingrooms - Bears ought not to try to be as pretty as they possibly can; because it looks as if Bears wanted very much to be looked at, which - you know - they ought'nt to. So I say - the more quiet the dress, the more they will be admired by the wisest and nicest people. Therefore - I say - Silk. ...'
Autograph Letter Signed ('Ever your loving Birdie J Ruskin'), 2 pages 8vo, Venice, 9 July 1872 [CW/Bod, WW pages 674-675].
Thanking Lily for the photograph of a bust of herself, criticising it severely, expressing the hope of further letters from her and his desire to come home from 'this weary Italy' to be 'nearer my Irish friends'.
'... You are much more beautiful than any marble can represent, and I do not like the dress. It ought to have been up to the throat - or treated frankly as in Greek work - the compromise is entirely wrong in sculpture. If the sculptor had been able either to show your full form, or to inlay the dark eyes, as an ancient master would - he might have given some idea of you. But no pretty Irish girl could ever be represented but by painting - and not by that - unless Reynolds were the painter. ...'
Autograph Letter Signed ('Every your poor Birdie'), 1 page 8vo, Brantwood, no date (ca April 1873) [unpublished].
'I was stupid enough to take the beading of the bracelet for a part of the design - I won't let you have an injured thing - I'll find you a better - give that to Joannie ...'A letter from JR to Lily dated 2 April 1873 [WL pages 675-676] makes mention of the gift of a bracelet ('I hope you will like your bracelet a little').
Autograph Letter Signed ('still your loving - but mute - birdie J Ruskin'), 3 pages 8vo Brantwood, 2 October 1877 [CW/Bod, WL pages 693-694].
Writing now to Mrs Kevill-Davies [Lily having married Lt. William Trevelyan Kevill-Davies on 27 April 1875] congratulating her on the birth of her son (William, who was to be killed in action in 1915) and expressing his own world-weariness and dislike of the military profession.
'... I am getting old, & past play - and still more, past pleasure, the things that are happening in the world about me seeming to me more and more dreadful every day. - and how can I write - for instance to a soldier's wife, when I think a soldier's profession is entirely mischievou
[No: 24522]

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