Inscribed by P.A.B. Widener to George Jay Gould
Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Private Collection of P. A. B. Widener. Asbourne – Near Philadelphia. Part I: Modern Paintings; Part II: Early English and Ancient Paintings.
Item Number: 33017
Paris: Manzi, Joyant & Company, 1885-1900.
First edition. Quarto, original leather, gilt titles and tooling to the spine and front panels, all edges gilt. Inscribed by the author in volume one, “Mr. George J. Gould with compliments of P.A.B. Widener.” The recipient was George Jay Gould, who was a financier and the son of Jay Gould. He was a railroad executive, leading both the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and the Western Pacific Railroad. A nice association. In very good condition.
Peter Arrell Browne Widener was an American art collector, businessman, and head of the Widener family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Other Books by this Author
Portrait of George Washington after Gilbert Stuart, American School, late 19th century oil on canvas portrait of President George Washington, after the Athaneum portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Housed in a Victorian giltwood frame with floral carved corner ornaments and oval opening. The entire piece measures 35 inches by 40 inches. An exceptional piece.
London: Doves Bindery, 1906.
Quarto, bound in full green morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, all edges gilt. With original caricature and artwork by architect Addison Mizner. Entries dated between 1906 and 1929 and about two-thirds of the leaves remaining blank. Mizner’s contributions include to the guestbook include three self-caricature sketches and also a watercolor, each signed by Mizner. Besides Mizner’s contributions, there are two other watercolors, one a cameo of a bucolic classical ruin, another, a dog looking out onto a panoramic view of pines and the coast, undoubtedly a view from a Farmholme prospect, or nearby, before it was overrun with suburban development. And there are several other fun drawings, including ones of a race car and of a plane. Mizner is credited with pioneering the Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial stucco architectural style in Southern Florida, and also Southern California and Beverly Hills. As virtually integral as this style has become to these places and elsewhere, before Mizner designed the Everglades Country Club’s clubhouse in Palm Beach in 1918, the prevailing style there was Victorian Queen Anne and Colonial Revival shingle homes such as one would have found in Northeastern resorts. Admiration for the Everglades clubhouse made Mizner the go-to architect for millionaires who competed against one another through the 1920s for the most impressive mansion in Palm Beach, formerly primarily a hotel resort, and his style was emulated by other architects hired to build less august developments. Among his legacy is the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Mizner, though, was not your typical nose-to-the-grindstone architect but also a highly colorful figure, famed as a raconteur, a co-author of the satiric “The Cynic’s Calendar of Revised Wisdom for 1903” and many sequels, and a bit of a scoundrel, who with his brother was implicated in some shady transactions relating to the Florida land boom of the 1920s, and this served as the basis for the Stephen Sondheim 2008 musical, “Road Show”. It is the social animal that Mizner was, someone who was able to exploit social connections, that should give this guest book a certain resonance to those fascinated by him and his career. Also, Mizner was a somewhat unconventionally trained architect. He didn’t go to a modern sort of architecture school, but apprenticed in an architectural office, and perhaps it was unorthodox training that later made him so much an original, and eccentric, architect, famous for glitches in his designs such as stairways that went nowhere. But he was regarded as a highly proficient draftsman and talented artist, abilities perhaps all too in short supply in the architectural profession, and here are examples of his quick dash art that provide some delightful corroboration of this reputation. Another guest at Farmholme was Ethel Watts Mumford (Grant), his co-author, who in one place contributed four lines of comic verse and a drawing of two monkeys. Other guests included Elisabeth Marbury, the prominent theatrical agent and lesbian lover of Elsie de Wolfe; Mary Livingston Hunt, of the Old Knickerbocker Livingstons; and many others who were undoubtedly secure in their Social Register bona fides — people with names such as de Forest, Alsop, Callander, Ogden, Hotchkiss. Whoever many of these people were, the same people came back again and again over the two decades, suggesting a close knit group of friends. While many of the entries are just autographs, sometimes accompanied by an anodyne sentiment, not a few are accompanied with a few lines of appreciative verse or snippets of musical notation. One guest, an Eduardo Bucco left several entries in Italian verse. The painter of the watercolor cameo signed in reverse — one needs a mirror to make out the name, which looks something like Raymond Tumball. As august as Farmholme must have been, based on its guests, bits and pieces hinted at in the text of entries, the painted view, the exquisiteness of the guest book itself, we were not able to discover anything definitive about the estate.
Original drawing by playwright Tom Stoppard. “I can’t draw. Really. Look: My Hous, My Dogg (crossed out and replaced with ‘Hors’) Love, Tom.” The drawing corresponds to one of Stoppard’s later plays, The Real Thing, first performed in 1982. Known for his use of playful language in addressing philosophical concepts, Stoppard’s later works sought greater emotional and interpersonal depths, as is also apparent in this lighthearted and intentionally naive portrayal of a scene typical of children’s art. Rare and desirable with an original drawing. The drawing measures 8.5 inches by 8 inches. Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 14 inches by 14 inches.
"In this brief life of ours, it is sad to do almost anything for the last time": Large Signed Portrait Photograph Signed by Charles Dickens
Large oval portrait photograph measures 20 inches by 16 inches. Matted in a contemporary frame which measures 25.5 inches by 29.5 inches. Signed “Charles Dickens (with a large flourish) Boston Sixth March 1868.” In 1867, Charles Dickens began his second American reading tour at Boston’s Tremont Temple, where an enthusiastic audience delighted in some of his most notable works, members of the audience included legendary literary stars such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Although Dickens was in declining health, he embarked on an ambitious travel schedule across the United States. Dickens returned to Boston once more before concluding his U.S. tour in New York City. When Charles Dickens arrived in Boston on November 19, 1867, the celebrated English author spent several days at the Parker House hotel recuperating from the voyage. As conscientious a performer as he was a writer, Dickens had prepared diligently for his performances, redrafting and memorizing key passages from his books especially for these engagements. He used a book only as a prop; he was so familiar with the material that he could improvise with ease. However, during his 1867-1868 tour he was plagued with Flu-like symptoms, insomnia, and an inflammation of his foot, which forced him to walk with a cane. During his last tours in 1868, Dickens confined much of his performances to the New England area. Dickens was grateful for the income he desperately needed from his readings, which generated $140,000, close to $2,000,000 today; but he longed for home. On April 8, 1868, Dickens gave the last performance of the tour. Prolonged applause followed the reading. He closed by telling the audience, “In this brief life of ours, it is sad to do almost anything for the last time… Ladies and gentlemen, I beg most earnestly, most gratefully, and most affectionately, to bid you, each and all, farewell.” He died two years later, having written 14 novels, several of which are considered classics of English literature. A desirable piece of Victorian literary history.