Two Months in Italy scrapbook
Travel journal from Mrs. E. A. Bean throughout Italy, including locations of Marian devotion. From the seller: " Massively bound in rather sepulchral full black morocco gilt, at some point there has been a professional respining retaining the old labels. Titled in gilt to spine and front board. Minor edgewear, scuffing and bumping, but solid as a tombstone. Edges gilded over red (which I believe is technically referred to as “art gilt”, which doesn’t sound terribly fun). Internally clean and, frankly, magnificent. Victorian lady travellers popping off to Italy to see the art, scenery and architecture did not, apparently, mess about. Each page is hand bordered in red ink, a clean, legible hand in black ink throughout with a positive blizzard of inserted engravings, plates, photographs, and several pieces of original watercolour art. Visually striking, authoritatively written with verve and detail and quite simply an outstanding piece of travel narrative: “...closer to us were deep gorges clothed with fine old oak woods and glowing with an undergrowth of golden Broom and furze, blackberries, honeysuckle, dog roses and hawthorn and all the summer favourites of an English hedgerow made us feel at home, but fields of blue lupins, pink gladioli and lilac reminded us we were in a  climate, though not so forcibly or pleasantly as the bright smiling dark eyes and rich complexions of the people...” The destinations of such a tour are to be expected, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Bologna, Lucca etc. but the depth of immersion and appreciation, largely omitting most of the rather tiresome accounts of unaired beds and overpriced suppers, renders Mrs. Bean’s account rather delightful to read. There is one particular scene involving a swarm of insistent beggar children in Rome that stands out, the intensity of the onslaught being such that it “quite overcame the customary philanthropy” of one of her male companions. A striking object, from, by all evidence, a rather accomplished lady."
Purchased from Jonathan Kearns Rare Books, April 2019