Eighteen Autograph Letters Signed from artist and poet Bowyer Nichols [John Bowyer Buchanan Nichols] to his aunt Emily Mary Nichols, daughter-in-law of John Bowyer Nichols, with dozens of sketches and caricatures in letters and on 27 pieces of paper.

Bowyer Nichols [John Bowyer Buchanan Nichols] (1859-1939), English artist and author [his aunt Emily Mary Nichols (nee Ade), wife of Robert Cradock Nichols, son of John Bowyer Nichols]
Publication details: 
The letters mostly from Southgate House, Winchester (11), Eagle House, Wimbledon (4), Winchester College (2); dating from between 1871 and 1875.
SKU: 11638

All items in good condition, on lightly-aged paper. The letters total 33pp., 12mo; and 31pp, 16mo; with nine on 12mo bifoliums, seven on 16mo bifoliums and two on single 16mo leaves. Nine are on Southgate House letterheads, and two on Winchester College letterheads. All are complete except the last, which lacks the last part. Mostly addressed to 'My dear Aunty' and signed in a variety of ways, from 'J. Bowyer B. Nichols' to 'BBN'. The first letter, dated 4 December 1871, sets the tone, showing Bowyer Nichols to be a precocious and spirited twelve-year-old. It begins: 'Will you send me, if you can find it, that poem about Sally Porter and Charlie Church? I forgot to take it upstairs last evening, after I had written it out. I think that most likely it is in the blotting-book. This afternoon I had my promised drill, I had an hour. I was so cold I thought I should be frozen. The boys have a pole, which two or three boys go on at once: [illustration Two other boys were on mine. / How is the Prince of Wales? He is very ill, isn't he? Everybody seems to be talking about it.' He notes that ''All the boys take a remarkable interest in my letter this evening.' Further topics include: the Tichborne Claimant ('I begin to pity the poor old creature. He's a horrible old heart, though'); the nature of the 'Bran Pie' to be eaten at a 'Juvenile Party'; the finding of 'the Autograph Catalogue' ('we had a bottle of champagne in honour of the occasion!'); a cricket match with another school ('They beat us by sixty runs!!!!'); the blowing over of 'the old cedar tree on the lawn'; social engagements; school gossip; the letters he has received; his reading; his need for new clothes. On 5 February 1894 he writes: 'I feel gloomy this evening - Perhaps it is the effect of reflecting on Greek Grammar Papers to come; perhaps of chocolate that is past.' His view (1 March 1874) of the outcome of the Tichborne case is expressed in quietly sarcastic terms: 'What think you of the verdict? Fourteen years will almost finish him, I should think. We got the news, Guilty in every respect. at just before dinner yesterday morning. I heard Miss Hawkins say, Of course, I have known all the while what the end would be. From the very first day, etc etc. Of course she knew. Everybody knew all the while. There wasn't the slightest doubt in anybody's mind. I've heard people say that they had heard that all the jury were not agreed, and that they were not so sure about the decision, but I've no doubt they said, immediately on receiving the news, I told you so. We didn't hear about the 14 years till the evening, when there were bills posted about everywhere, Telegrams addressed to the editor of the Hampshire Mercury (or Herald, or Argus, or something of the kind) -'. The drawings (in pen and ink and pencil, with only one in colours) mainly depict figures in contemporary and historical costume, executed in detail with skill and wit, showing the influence of 'Punch', but also with an anomalous Edwardian feel. Subjects include a preacher in a pulpit; a Pre-Raphaelite maidens in kimonos; a woman in Grecian costume; 'Strephon' and 'Astrologos'; a woman playing the piano; ladies and gentlemen in evening dress and fashionable attire; a priest being beheaded by a knight; ladies and gentlemen in eighteenth-century costume; heads of a falcon; fancy initial capitals. They are present in the letters and on 27 pieces of paper, ranging in size from 7.5 x 10 cm to 28 x 32 cm, with drawings on 47 of the 54 sides, and the other seven sides blank. Again in good condition, with only two pieces damaged: the largest is worn and frayed at the extremities, and another piece has had a small hole made through it by the force of Nichols's pen strokes. The pieces of paper are taken from notebooks and cut from letters. Two carry fragments of text: one with 'For dearest Iren / Easter Eve 1876' and the other addressed from 27 Clifton Villas, Maida Hill.