[George III, King of England.] Four documents by King George III, all in his Autograph, giving detailed instructions (retinue, route, accommodation) for a journey into Hampshire, with reference to Fanny Burney and Sir William Pitt's Highfield House

George III (1738-1820), King of England [Sir William Augustus Pitt of Highfield House; Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay)]
Publication details: 
For a journey taking in Egham, Basingstoke, Salisbury, Andover, and Sir William Pitt's Highfield House in Hampshire. Probably all written around the same time, between around 1786 and 1790.
SKU: 23129

Four sets of travel instructions by George III, all in his autograph, none dated but seemingly relating to the same journey, taking in the Highfield House estate of General Sir William Augustus Pitt (c. 1728-1809), and also referring to Egham, Basingstoke, Winsdsor, Andover. A referring to the novelist Fanny Burney (1752-1840), narrows the date of at least one of the documents to between 1786 and 1790, the period during which Burney was a Keeper of the Robes. On four leaves, and totalling 5pp, ranging in size from 4to to long narrow 8vo (see descriptions below for dimensions). All four in good condition, neatly mounted on folio sheets of Whatman paper, one mount with watermarked date 1826 and another with cropped date 1827. The four items are from the distinguished autograph collection of Richard Hunter (1923-1981), son of Ida Macalpine, whose library of 7000 books relating to psychiatry is in Cambridge University Library. Macalpine and Hunter had a particular interest in the king's illness, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'. Also included is a long Typed Letter Signed from the eminent English bookseller and bibliophile Alan G. Thomas (1911-1992), offering the four items to Hunter, on his Bournemouth letterhead, 2 July 1965. Thomas's scholarship was exacting, and his description of the items is excellent. He states that they consist of 'Autograph Directions for various royal journeys, chiefly to Weymouth, detailing the servants required for attendance, the relays of horses and the accommodation required for the King and Queen and their suite, giving details of the itineraries, etc. […] The King gives equal care to the allocation of bedchambers, etc. One bedchamber is allocated to Fanny Burney but her name has been crossed through and that of Miss Gomme substituted. The whole gives a most interesting picture of George III's meticulous attention to detail.' As to provenance, Thomas states that all the pieces are from the collections of William Upcott (1779-1845) of the London Institution, and Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) of Middle Hill.' A second piece of paper carries a few unattributed notes, typewritten and in pencil, about whether the documents refer to 'travels from Cheltenham in 1788'. The four items are as follows. ONE: 1p, 4tto. Begins: Mr. Gorton is to order from Reading | 4. Post Horses for the King's Post Chaise | 4. Do Queen's first Post Coach | 4 Do Queen's Second Poast Coach | 4 Do King's Equerries Post Coach | Saddle Horses for footmen and two Hobby Grooms to be at Sir Wm. Pitt's at Highfield at three o'Clock on Friday Augt. 24th. | The same number of Horses at Basingstoke, and Overton. The Queen's 2d. Post Coach and the Equerries Post Coach will remain the Night at Andover, as the Princesses Mary and Amelia will lye there. | The King will sup there at Nine after which proceed to Weymouth the Horses wanted that Night will be 4. Horses for the Kings's Post Chaise | 4 Do Queen's 1st Post Coach | and 6 Saddle Horses; the above number at Salisbury, Woodyeate's Inn, Bloodford and Dorchester, […]'. TWO: 1p, on narrow 8vo leaf, 19 x 8 cm. Begins with numbered list of 21 rooms required by the royal party, beginning with '1. Bedchamber for King and Queen | 2. Dressing Room for King'. Item 10 is '[Bedchamber for] Miss Burney', i.e the novelist Fanny Burney, with her name crossed out and that of 'Miss Gomme inserted instead. Item 20 is 'Miss Burney's Dining Room'. Beneath the list are ten lines of miscellaneous notes, beginning: 'Lodgings as near as possible. | for four Gentlemen. And their Servants.' THREE: 2pp, on narrow 8vo leaf, 20 x 10 cm. In windowpane mount. Annotated in pencil by Upcott: 'Directions for the attendance of Servants upon the King – in his Majesty's handwriting.' Relating to a journey in stages, the first page beginning with a list of four coaches 'to go from Windsor to Bagshot'. Details are then given of 'King's Footmen', 'Hobby Grooms', 'Post Horses' and others required for the journey, with changed arrangements given for stages 'From Bagshot to Hertford Bridge', 'From Hertford Bridge to Basingstoke', 'From Basingstoke to Popham Lane', 'From Popham Lane to Hook', 'From Overton to Andover', 'From Hook to Stockbridge', 'From Andover to Salisbury'. The second page reads: 'Booth, Mackenzie, Opie and Howorth to go on Thursday Augt. 14th. From London to Popham Lane; Johnson, Inman, Mason and his Partner to go from Egham also to Popham Lane.' FOUR: 1p, 4to. In two columns. The body of the text in the king's autograph in ink, but with pencil additions in another hand (that of an equerry?) at the foot of both columns. The first column headed by the king 'At the Commissioners'. Begins with list of four required rooms: '1. A Bedchamber for the King & Queen if with convenienec a small room for the Queen to Dress if not can dress in the Bedchamber | 2. A Bed Chamber for Pss Royal and Pss. Amelia. | 3. A Bed Chamber for Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth | 4. A Bed Chamber for Princesses Mary and Sophia'. A list of retinue and servants follows. The second column begins with a list of seven names, beginning with 'Ly Courstown | Ly. Caroline Waldegrave | Ly. Frances Howard'. It also features details of horses, and ends: 'Prince Ernest – 1 Gentleman and Three Servants'. At the foot of the column are three queries, the second of which reads: 'Has the King decided if His own Saddle Horses are to go to Portsmouth?'