Vellum sheet, measuring 11 1/4 x 15 1/2 inches. Image size: 9 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches. 1914. A magnificently full color illuminated manuscript, by Erina Kenna (signed and dated in gold, at bottom: "Erina Kenna, Christmas, 1914," purportedly (per note on back) handed down through the Hopkins family, of his famous poem, "The Starlight Night," with minor revisions, and a possible early rendering of the poem. Framed later (on Vashon Island, see below), on a vellum sheet, with highly detailed and flourished large illuminated initial, and wide border designs and illustrative design including a winding grape vine, blossoms and circular gold dots and stipples, and four central "starry night" illustrations in wide burnished gold geometric frames, highly ornate and of a high degree of technical and aesthetic finish, by Erina Kenna. Lettering in black and red, by Kenna. On the back of the brown paper covering the frame is the following typewritten note: "This was a Christmas present in 1914 to G.M.H's mother from her surviving children. On the death of her youngest daughter, Grace, her son Lionel, then the only survivor of the family, presented it to his cousin, Anne Maurice Hopkins, who later passed it on for safe custody to her brother Edward Manley Hopkins. The text, though doubtless supplied by Robert Bridges, differs very considerably from that which he published four years later." This note was probably appended by a later ancestor, and is incorrect, in that it could not have been given to Hopkins' mother (Kate Smith Hopkins,1821-1900), as she had been deceased by that time (i.e. 1914). However, it is sure that the manuscript passed down along family lines, as we obtained from a dealer on Vashon Island who found it in a thrift store. It is well-documented, that an ancestor of Gerard Manley Hopkins, namely John Manley Hopkins (1935-2017), lived for many years, and was active participant in the small Island's social fabric for many years, and on up until his death three years ago. That the present poem constitutes and early draft of the "Starlight Night," which was published four years AFTER this manuscript was made, is of little doubt. Robert Bridges assembled the first book of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1918, and we can find no earlier reference to "The Starlight Night," as per a letter or manuscript (other than this illumination) that depicts a different version. Written in 1877, "The Starlight Night" was one of Hopkins' most popular sonnets. In 1918, Poet Laureate Robert Bridges published the first edition of the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, twenty years after Hopkins's death in 1889. The poem, as written out in this illuminated manuscript, differs in four major ways, shown below, as well as a few grammatical changes of minor import:
1918: The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Our 1914 manuscript: The quivering citadels
1918: Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves'-eyes!
Our 1914 manuscript: The dim woods quick with diamond wells; the elf eyes!
1918: The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
Our 1914 manuscript: The grey lawns cold where quaking gold-dew lies
1918: The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
The shocks. This piece-bright paling hides the Spouse
1918: Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.
Our 1914 manuscript: Chist, and the mother of Christ and all his hallows. ...........................................................................................................................................................In near fine condition, with usual and expected unobtrusive bubbling to vellum. A rare, beautiful, and historically significant illuminated manuscript, family heirloom, and early (and unique!) version of one of Gerard Manley Hopkins most beloved poems.
Price: $5,500.00 Item #4900