Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gleeson White and Kains-Jackson at Auction


If you have a lot of money and collect obscure (and otherwise) turn of the last century literature, you should probably look away now: unless you are the lucky new owner of this little beauty. This was auctioned at Bonhams a few weeks ago, a commonplace book I suppose you might call it, put together by the inestimable Joseph Gleeson White, Gleeful to his friends, critic and first editor of The Studio. GW was a central figure in the arts and literature of his period, over the turn of the last century, and was extremely highly thought of by all his contemporaries. He was ceaselessly kind and supportive to young, new talent and despite his early death he had a much greater influence on the art and writing of the time than is generally acknowledged.

The book above contains poems, letters, cuttings, and so on sent to him by all manner of people. My interest is particularly piqued by the presence of poems and letters from Charles Kains-Jackson whose letters from Frederick Rolfe I edited and published a while ago. In the illustration you can see a number of items from Kains-Jackson signed P.C. which were his middle initials.

Have a read of the extensive description on the Bonhams site for the role call of names represented in the book but I suspect the most interesting part of the description for many readers of this blog will be mention of a letter from Kains-Jackson written at the time of the Cleveland Street Scandal where he remarks, "The Euston case has concentrated all the public attention on one of the raid[ed] houses and thus makes things easier for the rest" which is a fascinating insight not only into the knowledge of that little group but also because of the casual way in which he mentions, "the rest" which presumably are a host of male brothels now lost to history except in that casual reference.

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