1857. Fore-edge painting, portrait of William Cowper in front of The Pond and London Tower. William Cowper, The Poetical Works.


A beautiful hidden fore-edge painting decorates this collection of William Cowper's Poetry, showing Cowper imposed in front of the "The Pool" of London, with the Tower of London visible in the background. This fore-edge scene is only visible when the pages are fanned; when the book is closed the fore-edge appears gilt (with only slight traces).

Cowper's poetry is enjoyable, I've taken the time to read some of this work and I like it. It reminds me of George Herbert's poetry, but in English we are more familiar with (modern).

William Cowper (1731 –1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak.

Possible Provenance

Joseph Frederick Green's name is applied to the free front endpaper; likely the British M.P..

Physical Attributes

Measures 18.5 x 12 x 4.5 cm. Leather with stamped gilt decoration, including a central vase and flower motif (attractive). Fore-edge painting. All edges are gilt. Illustrated. 775 numbered pages.


See pictures. Some shelf wear at corners, joints, etc.. Slight crazing at spine. Small 1 cm crack at front joint top. Top endband partially cracked but present. A little dust to top-edge. Inscriptions on free front endpaper; also remnants of a removed bookplate. The paper used for the plates (illustrations and title page) are foxed. Text block is free of foxing.

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