London: Richard Bentley,  1854.
5 volumes. 12mo. Bound uniformly in contemporary calf, marbled boards with morocco labels and gilt spine. A total of six novels in five volumes. This set owned by Jane Austen's favorite niece Fanny Catherine Knatchbull (nee Knight), with lengthy presentation inscription from Knatchbull to her daughter, Louisa, dated 1856 (in Louisa's hand): Louis Susanna Knatchbull- Hugessen, April 5th, 1856, From her very affectionate Mamma F. C. Knatchbull." And with remaining volumes bearing ownership signature of Louisa to front free endpapers. This set with titles dated 1833, but with imprints on final leaves suggesting a later edition, e.g. "A. and G.A. Spottiswoode" in Emma [see Gilson pp.227-229]. Engraved frontispiece illustration to each volume, but lacking half-titles and additional engraved vignette titles. Fanny Catherine (Knatchbull) Knight was Jane Austen's niece, the oldest child of Jane's brother Edward Austen (later Knight). Jane adored her and considered her "almost another Sister". Edward's wife died when Fanny was only 15 so her aunts Jane and Cassandra Austen took on an intimate and motherly role in the lives of Edward's children. In a letter dated 1808 Jane wrote "I am greatly pleased with your account of Fanny; I found her in the summer just what you describe, almost another Sister, & could not have supposed that a niece would ever have been so much to me. She is quite after one's own heart...tell her that I always think of her with pleasure." Fanny was Sir Edward Knatchbull's second wife and their children took the additional Hugessen name. This set of books would appear to have been given by Fanny to her own daughter Louisa around her 21st birthday (she was born in 1834). There are three pencil annotations to the opening "Memoir" of Jane Austen in volume 1, probably in Louisa's hand but two of which are presumably quoting her mother's own thoughts: beneath the text "her carriage and deportment were quiet, but graceful" is written " 'the sort of thing they call graceful I call awkward' Mama"; and in the margin next to the text "If there be an opinion current in the world that a perfectly amiable temper is not reconcilable to a lively imagination, and a keen relish for wit, such an opinion will be rejected for ever by those who had the happiness of knowing the authoress of the following work." is written "True Mama." Boards chipped, occasional wear and chipping to bindings, 3 morocco labels lacking on spines (of 10). A lovely association copy, once owned by Jane Austen's favorite niece, and certainly a great rarity to have them all uniformly bound and commonly owned.
Price: $9,500.00 Item #4682