Sims Reed Rare Books×

The Germ: Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art. Nos. 1 - 4. [All Published]

Germ. Rossetti, William Michael (Editor)

London. Aylott & Jones / Dickinson & Co. and Aylott & Jones. 1850 Jan–Apr
A complete copy of the only true Pre-Raphaelite periodical, likely the copy of poet Henry Septimus Sutton, including a letter to him from the printer of 'The Germ', George Isaac Frederick Tupper.

'The Germ' features original etched frontispieces by William Holman Hunt, James Collinson, Ford Madox Brown, and Walter Howell Deverell to each part. Literary contributions, and 'The Germ' features verse, literary criticism and prose dialogues, were provided by Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Bell Scott, Ford Madox Brown, William Michael Rossetti, Thomas Woolmer, John Orchard, John Lucas Tupper, Coventry Patmore and others. Many contributions were issued anonymously or under pseudonyms with the contents of each number listed on the verso of each of the original front wrappers. This copy has many of the anonymous contributors identified in ink, probably by Coventry Patmore (the poet) who was a friend of Sutton and who contributed a poem to 'The Germ'; he has annotated one of the poems in ink: 'Written by me before I was sixteen. / C. Patmore.'

Henry Septmus Sutton was an English poet heavily influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Tupper's letter to Sutton is in sepia ink on a bifolium of cream paper tipped-in after the front wrapper for issue number 1: 'I much regret being obliged to return your verses unpublished, in consequence of the death of our poor 'Art and Poetry'. We never expected that a work of such uncompromising purpose would find sufficient favour with the public to more than than pay its expenses ... The number, however, of the four Nos hitherto sold left so large a deficit n ... we did not think ourselves justified in bringing out another number altho the etching and the whole of the M.S.S. was prepared ... '.

Emily Holman Hunt, the sister of William Holman Hunt, reported to her husband on the rarity of The Germ: '[It] being exceedingly rare and much sought after, and more valuable since some of the contributors are dead, others having become great men'.

'The Brotherhood's most characteristic etchings, however, are the frontispieces to the four issues of their magazine, 'The Germ,' published between January and April, 1850: Holman Hunt's 'My Beautiful Lady', James Collinson's 'The Child Jesus', Ford Madox Brown's 'Cordelia', and W. H. Deverell's 'Viola and Olivia'.' (Ray).

[Ray 217 (listed after the Etching Club edition of Milton's 'L'Allegro.' (see pg. 140]).
pp. 48; 49 - 96; 97 - 144; 145 - 192. 8vo. (222 x 138 mm). Original etched frontispiece to each issue (one double-page and folding), printed verse and prose by various contributors throughout. Full dark green crushed morocco by Riviere & Son with their signature gilt, boards with triple gilt rules, banded spine with title gilt and gilt decorative tooling in six compartments, turn-ins with elaborative gilt decorative tooling, glazed burgundy endpapers, a.e.g., spine and upper section of rear board faded to brown, with the original wrapper for part one and the original wrapper for part three where the name of the periodical was changed to 'Art and Poetry' retained.

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