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Album of 93 Original Water Colour Paintings - Mary Ford - 1856. 
83 leaves. Very good. Large octavo (11.75" X 9.5"). Recently finely bound in full speckled calf with blindstamped diamond design to both boards. Edges and sides of boards stamped in rolled gilt design. Spine in 6 compartments; red morocco label with gilt title to one compartment, remainder stamped heavily in gilt. Raised bands. Marbled endpapers. A.e.g. With 83 leaves containing 93 mounted water colours by Ford, a letter introducing the album, a manuscript index by Mary Ford, and a colour portrait miniature of Richard Ford on ivory. Some watercolours in sepia tones and the remainder in full colour. Manuscript titles to most paintings in the hand of Mary Ford. Some sketches loosely mounted, with Ford's manuscript notes and signatures on the back. Occasional spotting and age toning to margins of leaves. A full description of each watercolour available on request.The water colours included in this album were composed after Ford's marriage to his third wife, Mary Molseworth, on June 12, 1851. That August, Ford and Mary left on a grand tour of England and Scotland and many of the paintings here must have been completed during this honeymoon trip. Featured are many religious sites in England and Scotland, including churches, cathedrals, and abbeys at, Iffley, York, Worcester, and Durham composed, no doubt, by Ford for his young bride, "a learned ecclesiologist [who] has been enchanted with the cathedrals of Hereford, Tewksbury, Gloucester, Worcester, and York, but most of all with most Princely Durham (Robertson 259)". Their trip also took them to Bolsover Castle, Barnard Castle, Kelso, and the Lake District, most of which are depicted in the album's water colours. Also included are scenes from France, including several of Dieppe and one of the Pyrenees, dated 1856. These must be among Ford's last foreign sketches, as his health continued to decline after returning to London from Paris. As would be expected from a travel writer, most of the paintings are of specific locations and scenes, titled accordingly. This album, crafted by Mary Ford within just a few short months after Richard Ford's passing, stands as a poignant memorial to her husband, his art, and their marriage. Mary's choice to include so many images composed during their trips together-- and of Mary's favorite subjects-- must have been an emotional one. A tremendous archive of the great travel writer, artist, and critic, Richard Ford, with an unparalleled and moving familial provenance. A copy of Ford's biography is included with the book: Robertson, Ian. Richard Ford1 796-1858: Hispanophile, Connoisseur and Critic (Norfolk, UK, 2004).
[Bookseller: Aquila Books]
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