Victorian commonplace book
Victorian commonplace book
Victorian commonplace book
Victorian commonplace book


Victorian commonplace book


Regular price $2,000.00 Sale

Commonplace books were a popular pastime among women beginning in the 18th century. This one, manufactured in 1827, is filled with the typical poems, passages, and aphorisms women of the time would have read in printed works. This book's emphasis is on Lord Byron, Lord Palmerston and Vincentia Rogers, a popular Romantic-era Irish poet. These selections, all from popular authors in the periodical press, suggest that the owner was copying from gift books like Forget-me-Not and The Keepsake. Two poems signed by "Jane", dated October 9 and 10, 1833, appear to be original works, probably by the book's owner. This book demonstrates the shift from the commonplace book to the scrapbook, with cards and a poem pasted in. Apparently this book was passed down from one generation to another. James Whatman set up a paper mill for his friend Richard Harris, in Kent, England in 1733. Apparently not satisfied, Harris began building a larger mill called Turkey Mill near Maidstone. When Harris died in 1739, Whatman married his widow and took over the paper-making operations at Turkey Mill. He quickly distinguished himself as a maker of fine quality paper and is credited with inventing the "wove" papermaking process, producing paper similar in appearance to woven linen, in 1756. This technique eventually became a standard in the paper-making industry. In 1765 his son James took over and succeeded in making Turkey Mill England's largest paper mill. James Jr. invented the paper whitening process using laundry blue. William Balson took over the mill operations after 1790 when Whatman had a stroke, but kept the original name. Balston started a new mill in 1805, the first paper mill to be powered by a steam engine.

Publication Info

  • Publisher: n/a
  • Edition: n/a
  • Date Published: ca. 1827-88
  • Place Published: n/a
  • ISBN: n/a


  • Condition: Very good
  • Signed: No
  • Dust Jacket: No
  • Jacket Condition: n/a
  • Details:
    Unpaginated. About 300 pages interspersed with a few colour tissue pages. Handmade paper by J. Whatman "Turkey Mill" in 1827 according to a watermark towards the rear. 23 cm. 15 full-page colour and b&w plates. 3 more smaller b&w illustrations. Owner added 30 more colour and b&w illustrations, some detached. 65 p. filled in with verse, mostly written in a tiny, neat script ca. 1828-33. Other writing apparently added later, including a poem "Kind Hearts are More Than Coronets" by Tennyson written on a pink paper, dated June 25th, 1888 and attached to a blank page. Full leather with blank and gilt impressing. Front cover has name of James Scott Couser and Souvenir is written on rear. All edges gilt. Respined with original spine overlaid. Occasional spotting but overall very clean.

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