Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Aucassin & Nicolete

Published in 1911 by A & C Black
Introduction by Henry Child
Illustrated by Anne Anderson

From time to time when buying and selling books, I come across a book which makes me stop in my tracks. This is one such book. It is a typical gift book, beautifully produced with lavish amounts of gilt and some lovely plates by Anne Anderson ( verging on the twee sometimes, but still lovely). What makes this book particularly special to me is the very personal and touching dedication inside.
The book was given to Edith Dunn by Sylvia D'Oyly in October 1914. The dedication says 'Come what may/ time and the hour runs through the roughest day' and is taken from Macbeth. I did a bit of research and discovered that Sylvia ( nee Hart) and Edith were school friends at Cheltenham Ladies College. Edith (born 1885) was the daughter of Charles George Dunn, a Navy man who had lost his life off the coast of Lisbon in 1898. The Dunn's were Northumberland shipowners. Sylvia Agnes Alicia Hart was born in India in 1885 the daughter of  General Sir Reginald Clare Hart VC and married Sir Warren Hastings D'Oyly in 1912.  They had one child, a son, Reginald Clare Hastings D'Oyly in 1918, who lost his life aged 23, in the Second World War.
I can't imagine what it was like to live in October 1914 and perhaps this dedication gives a small clue as to the absolute terror people must have felt at the time.

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