Wednesday, July 30, 2014

157. Not Rupert Brooke

In 1915 Ricketts's friend Gordon Bottomley published his play King Lear's Wife in the periodical Georgian Poetry, 1913-1915. Offprints of this publication could be used to send out to friends and relatives.


Auction catalogue, Christie's, London, 4 December 1933

Bottomley wrote a personal dedication to Ricketts and Shannon in one of those copies. His play was the first contribution to the book. It was followed by a series of poems by the poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915).


Contents page in Georgian Poetry 1913-1915 (source: Internet Archive)
The offprint includes the first page of Brooke's contribution on which only his name is printed.


First page of Rupert Brooke's  contribution to Georgian Poetry 1913-1915 (source: Internet Archive)
This prompted a reaction by Gordon Bottomley, who wrote around the caption 'Rupert Brooke' an extra inscription: 'You must not look at [printed name: Rupert Brooke]. This isn't his book. - G.B.'

This copy was sold after Ricketts and Shannon had died. Christie's catalogue for the auction of 4 December 1933 describes the book as lot number 290; inserted was a letter to Ricketts and Shannon.

Fifty copies of this offprint were printed for Bottomley. The poet and artist Reginald Hallward and his wife also received a copy in which the same annotation was penned on the fly-leaf for the (absent) Brooke section. This copy was on sale with Charles Cox recently: 'You must not look | At [Rupert Brooke]; | This isn't his book. | G.B.'