Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A Bloomfield library

I've been collecting Robert Bloomfield for a couple of years now and thought it might prove useful to put a list of my holdings online. This collection has been acquired very cheaply, mainly because I have often purchased quite tatty copies in original publisher's boards in preference to grandly rebound copies. In their favour, as well as sometimes their price, books in original boards have the blanks, half-titles, and advertising pages often lost when the book is rebound. The bookseller Jolyon Henderson has commented “As recently as the 1970s, a book in its original boards was not thought to be as desirable as a nicely rebound copy—well, in Glasgow at any rate”.  Glasgow may have caught up but I think Henderson's remarks still describe quite a few of the booksellers currently advertising on Abebooks.

I find myself wondering whether the fact that copies in original condition are easily come by reflects something of Bloomfield's contemporary public—people who preferrred not to be put to the expense of full gilt calf. It has seemed to me that books by others of similar date such as Byron, Coleridge or Keats are much rarer in original boards.

This is a very rough and incomplete list, which I hope is soon to be amended & extended.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The Farmer’s Boy : a rural poem, in four books.—London : Printed for Vernor and Hood, Poultry, by T. Bensley, Bolt-Court, Fleet-Street, 1800.—xvi, 102 p. : ill. ; 26 cm (4to)
Colophon dated: Jan. 1, 1800.
Preface typesigned: Capel Lofft
Large paper issue.
With ornaments engraved in wood by Anderson.
Contents: Spring—Summer—Autumn—Winter.
Edited by Capel Lofft.
Purchased from J & S Wilbraham Books (London), “without the half title or advert leaf as often, 13 wood-engraved vignettes, including title page and tailpieces, neatly bound in 20th Century marbled boards, paper label, light marginal blotch foxing to first leaves, else a very good copy, FIRST EDITION, the scarce quarto issue of this celebrated poem of rural life, which went into countless smaller format editions in the next few years.”
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 1.
Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The Farmer’s Boy : a rural poem, in four books. By Robert Bloomfield. With ornaments engraved in wood by Anderson.—London : Printed [by T. Bensley] for Vernor & Hood; sold by T.C. Rickman; Ingram, and Dingle, Bury; Booth, Norwich; Hill, Edinburgh; Archer, and Dugdale, Dublin, 1800.— [4],xxxii,128 p : plates ; 22 cm (8vo)
Editor’s preface signed: Capel Lofft.
With a half-title and a final advertisement leaf dated at foot: Jan. 1, 1800.
Purchased from Addyman Books (Hereford), “very attractive engraved vignettes. In original binding as sold with blue backstrip bearing original paper label with price of 5s. Pink boards, partially faded, upper board detached. Spine lacks portions at head and tail. Pages foxed. It is unusual to find this item not rebound in leather.”
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 1a.

Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—Rural tales, ballads, and songs.
printed for Vernor & Hood; and Longman & Rees; T. Bensley, printer : London, 1802.— [iii]-ix, [1], 119 p. : 11 plates, port. ; 23 cm (8vo).
With footnotes by Capel Lofft.—Printer’s name from verso of titlepage and colophon.—The frontispiece portrait is dated Jan. 1, 1802.
Purchased from Rothwell & Dunworth (Dulverton), “Original paper-laid boards (spine perished and boards rubbed and scuffed). Pp. xi + 105, illus with 9 wood engraved vignettes (small closed tears to edges of some pages; no inscriptions)”.
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 2a.


Nathaniel Bloomfield, 1759-1831.—An essay on war, in blank verse; Honington Green, a ballad; The culprit, an elegy; and other poems, on various subjects.—London : Printed for Thos. Hurst, no. 32, Paternoster-Row; and Vernor and Hood, Poultry, London; by P. Gedge, Bury, 1803.—xxviii, 96 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill.. ; 17cm (8vo)
With a preface by Capel Lofft.
Purchased from Fortune Green Books (London), “Original boards, covers a bit marked & scuffed, rebacked in modern cloth with typed label, pages untrimmed throughout, internally clean & tight. Collected verse by the little-known brother of the poet Robert Bloomfield - a scarce book.”


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The Farmer’s Boy [bound with] Rural tales, ballads, and songs; with a sketch of his life.—Paris: Parsons & Galignani, 1804.—[2], 74, 76-146 p. : ill. ; 17 cm (12mo)
The titlepage is engraved, with vignette portrait.—With a final contents leaf.—The pagination continues after p.74 from that of the 1804 Paris edition of The Farmer’s Boy but Rural Tales was also issued separately.
Purchased from J & S Wilbraham Books (London), “with engraved title page with engraved vignette to each work, disbound, some gatheringings lightly browned, a good binding copy, FIRST PARIS EDITION, a very rare printing; according to BLC, the only copies we have located, they were issued both together and singly.”

Bibliothek der redenden und bildenden Künste. Bd. 2, St. 1.  (1806)
First German translations.
Purchased from Zentralantiquariat Leipzig GmbH (Leipzig), “192 S. Spät. Hlwdbd. m. goldgepr. Rtit. St. verso Tit. Gebräunt, teils braunfl. Kirchner I, 4683. Diesch 1438. Ein Stück aus d. Interessanten, vorwiegend literaturkritischen Zeitschrift im Zeitalter d. Klassik u. Frühromantik. Bis 1811 erschienen noch vier weitere Bände (mit jeweils 2 Stück). - Enth.: Müller, A.H., Vorlesungen über d. deutsche Wissenschaft u. Litteratur; Körte, W., Briefe zwischen Gleim, Wilhelm Heinse u. Johann v. Müller; d’Harville, I.F.C., Théatre et poésis fugitives; Über d. englischen Naturdichter Robert Bloomfield; Broße, F.Ch., Anakreon; Böttiger, C.A., Andeutungen zu vier u. zwanzig Vorträgen über d. Archäologie. Abt. 1.”


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—Wild flowers, or, Pastoral and local poetry.—London : printed for Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; J. Wright, printer, 1806.—x, 132 p., [7] leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm (8vo)
With woodcuts which are sometimes, wrongly, attributed to Thomas Bewick.
With leaf of Corrections at end of text.—Printer’s name from colophon.
Purchased from Graham York Rare Books (Honiton), “black and white illustrations, complete, original boards uncut. Beautiful calligraphic ownership inscription of Bennett Finn, 1826. Most of spine missing, boards rubbed, contents good.”
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 5.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The banks of Wye : a poem. In four books.—London : printed for the author, Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe ... and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown ..., 1811.—vii, [1], 134, [2]p., 4 plates ; 16-17 cm. ; 8vo.
Title vignette.
Printed: London: T. Hood, and Co. Printer’s name from verso of titlepage.
2p. of Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe’s advertisements at end of text (K4).
Illustrations: engravings by Hayes after R. B. Cooper. The engraved frontispiece and plates dated July 20, 1811.
A description in verse of an excursion down the Wye and through part of South Wales taken by the author and a party of Gloucestershire friends in the summer of 1807. Cf. Preface.
Purchased from Madoc Books (Llandudno) “In contemporary blue printers paper boards, a little grubby, corners and edges bumped and worn. Spine, lacks title label, paper cracked, edges bumped and worn. Internally, ink name to fpd, eps a little soiled, light foxing, B&W frontispiece present, some light offsetting. ... Bloomfield, poet, who in 1807, began working working in fits and starts over the next three years polishing and expanding what he had begun in the journal and it was finally published in 1811 as The Banks of the Wye: a Poem.”
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 7.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The banks of the Wye: a poem. In four books.—2nd edn, corrected.—B. & B. Crosby & Co., 1813.—Engr. Front. & plate by R.B.C. sl. darkened. Bound with: May Day with the Muses.—First edition.—Printed for the author, 1822. With: Hazelwood-hall: a village drama.—First Edition.—Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1823. 3 vols in 1 in functional green binder’s cloth, paper label.
Purchased from Jarndyce (London), “FROM ROBERT BLOOMFIELD’S LIBRARY ... A good-plus copy. Pasted on to the initial blank, the engraved bookplate of Robert Bloomfield, dated 1813. Designed by W. Jackson of Gutter Lane, Cheapside, it mocks the conventional armorial bookplate, depicting not the usual paraphernalia of the nobility, but rather the more prosaic trappings of rural life: peasants in rural dress, farmyard animals, and agricultural machinery. It also depicts a figure riding a cow, holding aloft a shoe on the end of a pike: a reference to Bloomfield’s occupation as a cobbler. The motto betrays the impoverished poet’s attitude toward high society: ‘Friends in need, and a fig for the Heralds’.”
Inserted is an invoice for the sale of this collection to Leslie Shepard (1917-2004), writer, editor, film-maker & collector.

Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The banks of Wye : a poem. In four books.—Second edition, corrected.—London: printed for B. & R. Crosby & Co.; Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; John Walker; Darton and Harvey; and the Author; J. Swan, printer, 1813.—viii, 133 p. : front. ill. ; 18 cm (8vo).
Printer’s name from verso of the titlepage.
A description in verse of an excursion down the Wye and through part of South Wales taken by the author and a party of Gloucestershire friends in the summer of 1807. Cf. Preface.
Purchased from Stella & Rose’s Books (Tintern, “Good condition. Small format. Brown boards. 4 b/w plates. ... Inscription in ink to front endpaper. Contents very good. Boards worn.”


Edward Wedlake Brayley.—Views in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northamptonshire; I...
56 p. ; 26 cm (8vo).—vignette title-page, 14 engraved plates,
Purchased from Kernaghan Books (Liverpool), “uncut, original paper boards with title label to front cover, new acetate dustwrapper. Inner hinges cracked but secure. Covers dust-stained and worn. A very nice copy, internally clean.”

The Suffolk garland, or, A collection of poems, songs, tales, ballads, sonnets, and elegies, legendary and romantic, historical and descriptive, relative to that county : and illustrations of its scenery, places, biography, manners, habits and customs.—Ipswich : Printed and sold by John Raw; sold also by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown; and Rodd and Son, London, 1818.—xv, [1], 404p ; 21cm.
Half title: The Suffolk garland, or East country minstrel : with notices, historical, biographical, and descriptive.
Edited by Rev. James Ford.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—May day with the muses .—London : Printed for the author; and for Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, by Thomas Davison, 1822.—viii, 100 p. : ill. ; 18 cm (12mo).
Printer’s name from verso of titlepage and colophon.
8 cuts (1 on title-page). Fine woodcut head and tail pieces.
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 9.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—Hazelwood-Hall: A village drama. In three acts.—London : pr. for Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1823.—v p., 1 ℓ., 72 p. ; 18cm (12mo)
6 men, 5 women.
Without music.
Purchased from Claude Cox Old & Rare Books (Ipswich), “slight spotting but a very good uncut copy in original boards, paper label (browned), old repair at foot of backstrip, splits in hinges but sides secure. The scarce last work to be published in Bloomfield’s lifetime, rarely found separately and in original boards.”
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 10.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The remains of Robert Bloomfield ... In two volumes.—London: printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars, for the exclusive benefit of the family of Mr. Bloomfield; and published by Baldwin, Cradock , and Joy, 1824.—2 v. (xxxvi, 186, 6 pl. (music) [&] vii, 216 p.; ill. 19 cm (12mo)
Includes a list of subscribers.— Edited by Joseph Weston.—With half-titles and 6 plates of engraved music in vol. 1.
Edited by Bloomfield’s daughter, Hannah, a year after his death.
Purchased from Rothwell & Dunworth (Dulverton), “Contemporary uniform full calf, gilt tooled raised ribbed spines with gilt lettered labels, boards gilt ruled, all edges gilt (a bright VG set bound by Dewar of Perth with their labels on front paste-downs).”
Perth Academy prize plate dated session 1854-5 on front paste-down of vol II.
REFERENCE: Cranbrook & Hadfield 11.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The Farmer’s Boy, Rural tales, ballads, and songs.—London : J. F. Dove, [1830? or 1831?].—Dove’s English classics
128, [16] p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 14 cm (18mo).
With an additional titlepage, engraved and frontispiece designed by H. Corbould for Dove’s English Classics.—Contains 16p. of advertisements at end of text.—Price: 2s. 6d.
Purchased from City Bookshop (Norwich), “Fine copy in original publisher boards. Blemish to area above ‘The’ as shown on photo otherwise excellent for age. Engravings ‘A Shepherds boy - he seeks no other name’ and half page engraving to title page ‘No rake takes here.’. 16 page publisher and bookseller catalogue undated.”


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The Fakenham ghost. Illustrated by J. L. Wimbush.—London : Wells Gardner, Darton, & Co., [1888?] .—39 p.: ill. (4º); 18 cm.
With a half-title.
Purchased from Octagon Books (Ely), “Attractive pictorial bevelled boards, slight darkening and rubbing to covers. Very light foxing to interior ... with b/w illustrations facing each page of text. A pretty little book in original condition.”


Bertram Luard Selby, 1853-1918.—The Fakenham Ghost. Cantata. The words by Robert Bloomfield ... for Soprano Solo, Chorus and Orchestra.--London : Novello and Co, 1909.--1 vocal score (30 p.) ; 26 cm (8vo).--Novello’s original octavo edition
Music plate: 12866 Novello
Chorus: SATB; acc. arr. for piano.
Words also printed as text preceding score.
Purchased from Decorum Books (London), “Clean & bright VG+”.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—A selection of poems by Robert Bloomfield; edited, with an introduction by Roland Gant.—London : Grey Walls Press, [1947].—Crown Classics.-- 61p ; 20cm.


William Wickett.—The Farmer’s Boy. The story of a Suffolk poet, Robert Bloomfield, his life and poems, 1766-1823. By William Wickett and Nicholas Duval.—Lavenham : Terence Dalton, 1971.—144 p, 8 plates  : ill, ports ; 23 cm.
ISBN 090096328x
A selected edition (pp. 70-144) and biography


Simon White, John Goodridge and Bridget Keegan, eds.—Robert Bloomfield: Lyric, Class and the Romantic Canon.—Lewisburg PA : Bucknell University Press, 2006.—315 p.
Contents: Binfield, Kevin. Labor and an ethic of variety in The Farmer’s Boy. 70-88 ; Burke, Tim. Colonial spaces and national identites in The Banks of Wye: Bloomfield and the Wye after Wordsworth. 89-112 ; Christmas, William J. The Farmer’s Boy and contemporary politics. 27-48 ; Gorji, Mina. Burying Bloomfield: poetical remains and ‘the unlettered muse’. 232-52 ; Keegan, Bridget. Science, superstition, and song: varieties of religious experience in the poetry of Robert Bloomfield. 195-212 ; Landry, Donna. Georgic ecology. 253-66 ; Lucas, John. Hospitality and the rural tradition: Bloomfield’s May-Day with the Muses. 113-41 ; McEathron, Scott. An infant poem of war: Bloomfield’s On Seeing the Launch of the ‘Boyne’. 213-31 ; Underhill, Hugh. ‘Domestic happiness, thou only bliss’: common and divided ground in William Cowper and Robert Bloomfield. 267-87 ; White, Simon. A lyric for the artisan poet: To My Old Oak Table. 178-94.


Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—Selected poems.—Revised and enlarged edition. Edited by John Goodridge and John Lucas, with an introduction by John Lucas.—Nottingham: Trent Editions, 2007.
ISBN 1842331213

Further Reading

Earl of Cranbrook & John Hadfield, “Some uncollected authors XX: Robert Bloomfield 1766-1823”, The Book Collector, (Summer 1959), 170-79.

“Jolyon Henderson in conversation with Sheila Markham”, The Book Collector, (Autumn 2013), 449.

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