Price and Provenance 11

Mansfield Park and the Victoria Cross

In this post I am exploring the provenance of the Groombridge Illustrated edition of Mansfield Park that I discussed in my last post, Price and Provenance 10. The book cover is shown below, with its engraved title page and frontispiece (Figure 1.)

My copy of this rare book has a hand-written dedication on the verso of the free front end paper. It is shown in Figure 2 below. It reads To | Lillie Bazley |With Emily’s love | July 1st 1876.

Figure 2. Gift inscription on ffep of Mansfield Park 1975

As a starting point, I searched on Ancestry.com for a Lillie Bazley whose birthday was 1st July, and who had been born between 1840 and 1860 in England. This search found a preexisting tree which contained an Elizabeth Mary (Lillie) Bazley born on 1st July 1857 in Eccles in Lancashire. Presumably Lillie had been a family nickname. On closer examination of that preexisting family tree, I was interested to see that Elizabeth Mary (Lillie) Bazley had married a military hero, General Sir Edward Pemberton Leach, V.C., K.C.B., K.C.V.O. Lillie Bazley was a member of a fairly distinguished family in her own right, as her father, Sir Thomas Sebastian Bazley, 2nd Baronet, was part of the minor nobility. I spent a few hours researching this family, and I have summarised my findings below. I have taken advantage of the fact that when a book is associated with a notable family, there is generally no shortage of available information about them.

The origins of the Bazley family

Elizabeth Mary (Lillie) Bazley, whom I shall call Lillie for short, was born on 1st July 1857 in Eccles, Lancashire to Thomas Sebastian Bazley (1829-1919) and Elizabeth Gardner (1828- 1890). At the time of her birth, her father had not yet inherited the baronetcy, so he was not yet Sir Thomas. His father, Sir Thomas Bazley, M.P. (1797-1885), Lillie’s grandfather, had been created the 1st Baronet Bazley of Hatherop in Gloucestershire, in 1869, on the advice of the Prime Minister William Gladstone, mainly for his services to the cotton industry. Sir Thomas had been born at Gilnow, near Bolton in Lancashire, the son of a sucessful cotton mill owner, another Thomas Bazley (1744-1845). In 1826 Sir Thomas had formed a partnership with another Lancastrian industrialist, Robert Gardner (1781-1866). Between them they took over a number of cotton mills in Lancashire, and developed the Barrow Bridge mill in Halliwell, which became famous as a model mill, and was the largest producer of fine cotton and lace in the world. On 1st November 1855, Robert Gardner’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas Sebastian Bazley, the only son of Sir Thomas the 1st Baronet. Their first child was Lillie Bazley, the owner of my Mansfield Park.

Sir Thomas Bazley, who was named the 1st Baronet of Hatherop, after an estate that the family had purchased in Gloucestershire in 1867, had become sufficiently well known by 1875 that he was the subject of a Vanity Fair caricature by “Ape”, Carlo Pelligrini. The caricature is shown below in Figure 3, next to the more ordinary photograph of his erstwhile partner Robert Gardner. These two men are the grandfathers of Lillie Bazley.

Lillie Bazley was the first-born child of Thomas Sebastian Bazley and Elizabeth Gardner. She eventually had five other siblings:

  • Annie Caroline Bazley, born in 1862
  • Gardner Sebastian Bazley, born in 1863
  • Frances Annette Ellen Bazley, born in 1866
  • Jessie Marion Atkinson Bazley, born in 1868
  • Lucy Maud Mary Bazley, born in 1869

I have found this picture of the family, which is said to be from about 1900. I do not know exactly who the four ladies are. If the picture is from around 1900, my guess would be that the picture shows Sir Thomas Sebastian Bazley and his four daughters. Alternatively it could show Sir Thomas Sebastian and Lady Bazley with their three unmarried younger daughters. For this to be true, the picture must have been taken no later than 1890, when Lady Bazley died. I suspect that Lillie would not then have been in such a family picture, as she had married in 1883, the only one of the four sisters to marry before the death of Lady Bazley. The style of dress, the informality of the outdoor setting and the quality of the photograph suggest an Edwardian photograph rather than a late Victorian one. This makes me confident that one of these four ladies will be Lillie Bazley.

Figure 4 The Bazley family probably just after 1900.

The Bazley Baronetcy

When Sir Thomas Bazley, the 1st Baronet, died in 1885, the title passed to his only son who then became Sir Thomas Sebastian Bazley, the 2nd Baronet Bazley of Hatherop. Sadly, Lillie’s brother, Gardner Sebastian Bazley, died in 1911, eight years before his father, the 2nd Baronet, so it was his son who eventually became Sir Thomas Stafford Bazley, the 3rd Baronet of Hatherop, in 1919 at the age of 12. The title is currently held by Sir Thomas Stafford Bazley’s eldest son, Sir Thomas John Sebastian Bazley, who became the 4th Baronet in 1997. Figure 5 below shows Lillie’s brother Gardner Sebastian Bazley as a young man, and his son Thomas Stafford Bazley as a boy.

The family seat, Hatherop Castle, had been purchased by the Bazley family in 1867.After the Second World War it was first leased and then sold, along with its surrounding estates, as the family wanted to see the property survive intact. It currently operates as a private school, and is shown below. Lillie Bazley is known to have lived here during several periods of her life.

Figure 6. Hatherop Castle

Edward Pemberton Leach (1847-1913)

On 31st January 1883 Lillie Bazley married the then Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Pemberton Leach, VC, at Hatherop. Edward Pemberton Leach was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 2nd April 1847. After finishing his education at Highgate School in London and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, , he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1866, the same regiment as his father, Sir George Archibald Leach (1820-1913). He was sent out to India in 1868, and in 1879, as a 31 year old captain in the Royal Engineers attached to the Bengal Sappers and Miners of the British Indian Army, he fought in the Second Afghan War, in which on 17th March 1879 he won a Victoria Cross. This event earned him a return to England to recuperate from his wounds and to receive his Victoria Cross from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 9th December 1879. He returned to active service in India, and gained rapid promotion, so that less than four years later, when he returned to England to marry he was already a Lieutenant-Colonel. He later saw active service in Egypt and Sudan, before returning to senior commands in the UK. Other promotions followed and he was knighted in 1909 by King Edward VII. Lillie Bazley had now become Lady Leach.

Sir George Archibald Leach had a career in the public service after the army, and so was in the public eye, becoming the subject of a Vanity Fair caricature by FTD in 1896. Figure 6 below shows the caricature, and a photograph of his son Edward Pemberton Leach, V.C. around the time of his marriage.

Bazley-Leach marriage and beyond.

Lillie Bazley and Edward Pemberton Leach had three children. They were:

  • Lilian Vera Pemberton Leach born on 15 November 1883 at Hatherop Castle
  • Gordon Pemberton Leach, born on 2nd Aug 1885 at Hatherop Castle
  • Elsie Pemberton Leach, born in 30th June 1888 at Plymouth, Devon.

After their marriage in January 1883, Edward Leach served overseas on several occasions before his final return to the UK in 1887. The family lived in Plymouth until the mid 1890s, when Edward was promoted to Major-General and then appointed to a senior command in Northern Ireland, where the family lived in Antrim from about 1898 to 1905. Their son, Gordon Pemberton Leach, was at boarding school from around 1900 and joined the army in 1905. The rest of the family moved to Scotland later in 1905 when Edward was appointed to be the General Officer Commanding for the Scottish Command, remaining in that post until 1909. Lillie and Edward then returned to London where they lived until Edward’s retirement.

Edward Leach eventually retired from the army in 1912 as General Sir Edward Pemberton Leach, V.C., K.C.B., K.C.V.O. Sadly, he died on 27th April 1913 at Caddenabbia on Lake Como in Italy, where he and Lillie had decided to live following his retirement. He died just six weeks before his father, Sir George Archibald Leach, in June 1913. After her husband’s death, Lillie returned to England and was living at 29 Palace Gate, London W8.

Her son, Gordon Pemberton Leach, had risen to the rank of Captain in the Royal Field Artillery by the start of World War One. He was killed in action on 19th August 1915 at Hellas in Gallipoli, and is buried there at the Pink Farm military cemetery. Neither of Lillie’s daughters married, and the youngest, Elsie, lived with her mother, until Lillie Bazley, as Lady Elizabeth Leach, died in Bournemouth in Hampshire on 9th January 1940.

After her mother’s death, Elsie Leach became quite a famous ornithologist in her later years. She eventually died in Kensington in 1968. Lilian Vera Leach lived in mostly London,where she too died in Kensington in 1973. None of the three children of Elizabeth Mary (Lillie) Bazley married or had children.

Who gave Mansfield Park to Lillie Bazley?

The inscription shown in Figure 2 reads To | Lillie Bazley |With Emily’s love | July 1st 1876. We know that the Groombridge Mansfield Park was published in October 1875, so who was the Emily who gave the book to Lillie for her 19th birthday?

I will never be able to prove this, but I do have a possible theory. I think that the answer can be found on the census document for the Bazley family from April 1871, where the 13 year old Lillie Bazley is reported to be living with her family in the Alexander Hotel in Knightsbridge, London. Among their servants is a 24 year old Under-Nurse called Emily Westmacott from Leckhampton, Gloucestershire. Her job would have been to look after the children. In the April 1881 census, the Bazley family is living back at Hatherop Castle in Gloucestershire, but Emily Westmacott is no longer with the family. In fact, there are no nurses listed among the servants, as the children are all older now. There is instead a “Resident Governess” and a “Young Ladies Maid”.

On 7th October 1975, Emily Westmacott had married Charles Cornock at St. Luke’s Church, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, and by April 1881, she and Charles were living in Leckhampton in Gloucestershire with their three young children. One can presume that in the 1870s, the Bazley family would have moved back and forth between London and Hatherop, following the social customs of the day. In July 1st 1876, Emily would probably have already have been living in Leckhampton, which is within 15 km of Hatherop. She could have bought Mansfield Park in nearby Cheltenham, where there were several bookshops in the 1870s, and sent the book from Leckhampton to Hatherop by post or by coach. We don’t know how long Emily worked for the Bazley family, but the informal tone of the inscription suggests to me the sort of close relationship that a dedicated nursemaid may well have developed with one of the children in her care.

I have no information on when or how the Groombridge Mansfield Park left the possession of the Bazley-Leach family. Lillie may have passed the book on to one of her two daughters, or to one of her surviving siblings or their families. There are no other ownership marks or inscriptions to give me any clues. I bought the book quite recently from an English book dealer who specialises in old and unusual editions of Jane Austen.


Price and Provenance 10

The First Illustrated edition of Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen was first published in 1814 by T. Egerton as a three volume novel. A second edition, also in three volumes, was published in 1816 by John Murray. Neither of these two editions had any illustrations. The next edition to be published was a single volume edition published in 1833 by Richard Bentley. It had an engraved frontispiece and an engraved title page with a vignette illustration. Figure 1 shows images of these two pages.

Technically, the Bentley edition is the first edition of Mansfield Park to have any illustrations, but in most collector’s opinions this would not count as an illustrated edition, as there are no illustrations either embedded or interleaved in the text. Several other editions of Mansfield Park were published following the Bentley edition, particularly editions by Simms and M’Intyre (1846), Routledge (1857), Derby and Jackson (1857), Ticknor and Fields (1863) and Tauchnitz (1867). None of these were illustrated, even with a frontispiece.

The first illustrated edition of Mansfield Park was an undated edition published by Groombridge and Sons, 5 Paternoster Row, London. It is generally accepted that this edition was published in October 1875. The book contains 7 full-page engraved illustrations of drawings by A. F. Lydon. Not only is this the first edition of Mansfield Park with a set of illustrations, it is the first edition of any Jane Austen novel to be published in English with a set of illustrations. It is only preceded by some French translations of Austen published in the 1820s in three volumes with an engraved frontispiece in each volume. The top board and both title pages of my copy of the Groombridge Mansfield Park are shown in Figure 2 below.

The binding is a standard one used by Groombridge and Sons for some of their published fiction. They published several of the works of Grace Aguilar, often in this style of binding. The last page of the text block of my Groombridge edition of Mansfield Park is numbered 440, and bears the name of the printer, “B Fawcett, Engraver and Printer, Driffield.” The page height is 18.7 cm. These three characteristics all support the idea that this edition was printed de novo, rather than being a reprint of an earlier known edition, as no other known edition of Mansfield Park fits this description. David Gilson gives this book the designation E43 in his A Bibliography of Jane Austen, where he reports a publication date of October 1875, derived from the English Catalogue of Books. WorldCat also gives the date 1975, which comes from the deposit copy held by the British Library, the only copy listed on WorldCat. This is a very rare book, which means that few people have seen the illustrations. I will show all seven on them in the following sections.

A F Lydon, the illustrator and B Fawcett, the printer

The seven illustrations were all engraved by the firm of Benjamin Fawcett (1808-1893), a fine printer and engraver, from original drawings by Alexander Francis Lydon (1836-1917), an Anglo-Irish watercolourist and engraver. The pictures are all signed “A F Lydon” as the artist, but they also have small and indistinct second signatures or marks, which will be by the individual engravers. This indicates that Lydon probably did not execute the engravings himself, even though he was an accomplished engraver. This is underlined by the statement on the printed title page “Illustrated from Drawings by A.F.Lydon”. Indeed, much of the firm’s work was engraved by Benjamin Fawcett himself. Lydon was in fact an employee of Benjamin Fawcett (1808-1893), and had served his appenticeship as an engraver with Fawcett. This was mutually convenient as Driffield, a town in East Yorkshire, was both Lydon’s family home and the site of Fawcett’s business. There is a modern pub in Driffield today called “The Benjamin Fawcett”.

Lydon and Fawcett worked together over many years to produce mainly illustrations of wildlife, landscapes or architectural subjects. Lydon excelled in fine watercolour paintings of birds and plants, and also of grand houses in landscaped parks. Fawcett’s expertise was highly skilled colour printing from woodblocks. Much of their work was published by Groombridge and Sons, including the magnificently illustrated six volume series of A Natural History of British Birds by Reverend Francis Orpen Morris. I show two fine examples of typical work by Lydon and Fawcett below in Figures 3 and 4.

Picture of a Hoopoe (bird)
Figure 3. Hoopoe painted by A.F Lydon and printed by B Fawcett
Painting of Warwick Castle
Figure 4. Warwick Castle by A F Lydon, printed by B Fawcett

The Lydon illustrations for Mansfield Park

The illustrations for the Groombridge edition of Mansfield Park are all black and white printings of finely executed engravings on woodblocks of line drawings by Lydon. Several of them show off the artist’s skill in landscapes. This starts with the frontispiece, shown below in Figure 5.

Black and white picture of woman in woods viewing a distant house.
Figure 5. Frontispiece to Mansfield Park

This shows the heroine, Fanny Price, looking back towards the riding party of Edmund Bertram and Miss Crawford in front of the house at Mansfield Park. The incident is from chapter 7. Lydon’s expertise in the depiction of landscape is very much to the fore in this design.

The second illustration (Figure 6, left) shows an incident from chapter 9, where Fanny, Edmund and Miss Crawford have rested on a seat during a walk in the woods. Edmund and Miss Crawford then walk on together to the end of the wood, leaving Fanny still on the seat to watch them disappear together down the path.

The illustration shown on the right of Figure 6 depicts Edmund explaining to Fanny his concerns about the propriety of the amateur dramatics that the house party is engaged in.

In the next illustration (Figure 7), which is from chapter 25, we return to Lydon’s love of landscape as he depicts Henry Crawford’s story of stumbling across the village of Thornton Lacey, his promised living, while walking his lame horse back to Mansfield Park.

Figure 7 Henry Crawford views Thornton Lacey.

In the next illustration (Figure 8 left), taken from chapter 35, we see Edmund and Fanny walking together arm in arm as Edmund tries to find out what feelings she might have for Henry Crawford. In Figure 8 (right), we have moved on to chapter 41, where Henry Crawford is talking about his future prospects to Fanny Price at Portsmouth docks, rather wishing that Fanny’s younger sister, Susan, was not present.

The final illustration, shown in Figure 9 below, comes from an event in chapter 46, when Fanny, accompanied by her excited sister Susan and a nervous Edmund Bertram, returns to Mansfield Park by carriage from Portsmouth. This picture shows off Lydon’s facility in drawing country houses and landscaped grounds.

Figure 9 Fanny’s return to Mansfield Park

These seven drawings give an interesting view of an Austen novel through the eyes of a landscape and wildlife artist. Although the clothes depicted are decidedly from the 1860s and 1870s rather than Regency period, the drawings offer an interesting contrast to the classic illustrations of Austen by Charles and Henry Brock, Hugh Thomson and Chris Hammond, all whom tended to concentrate on fine line drawings of interiors, with accurate depictions of costume, manners and decor of paramount importance. It should be said that Thomson was also a fine illustrator of landscape and particularly well regarded for his depictions of horses.

This is the only novel of Jane Austen known to be illustrated by A. F. Lydon.

A few comments on the publisher, Groombridge and Sons

Richard Groombridge started as a publisher in 1833, when he operated out of his home, 6 Panyer Alley, using the imprint of Richard Groombridge or R. Groombridge. Four of his sons served as his apprentices and joined the firm to work as publishers and booksellers. In 1845, when his two eldest sons were 28 and 25 years old respectively, the imprint of the firm was changed to “Groombridge and Sons”, usually followed by “5, Paternoster Row” on the title page. Following Richard Groombridge’s death in 1855 the firm was run jointly by the two oldest sons. Sadly, the three oldest sons all died between 1860 and 1868, leaving the youngest, Charles Groombridge, as the last surviving son of the founder. He seems to have lost interest in publishing sometime during the 1860s, and by the 1870s, the firm was run by three grandsons of Richard Groombridge until it ceased to trade sometime around 1900.

R. Groombridge and Groombridge and Sons were best known as publishers of books on religion, agriculture and natural history, although they did also reprint several of the novels of Grace Aguilar (1816-1847), a popular writer on themes of Jewish history and religion. The Groombridges worked closely with Benjamin Fawcett, publishing many of his finely illustrated books between 1844 and 1890.

It is not known why Groombridge and Sons decided to publish an illustrated edition of Mansfield Park in 1875. It is even possible that the genesis of the book came from the printer, Benjamin Fawcett or the illustrator A F Lydon. We shall probably never know. For more details about the Groombridge family of publishers, read my Groombridge, Publishers page.

In the next post, Price and Provenance 11, I will explore the provenance of my copy of Groombridge and Son’s Mansfield Park.