Date range: 19th century
The collection consists mainly of the personal papers of the poet John Byrne Leicester Warren (1835–95), 3rd Baron de Tabley, of Tabley near Knutsford, Cheshire. De Tabley published under the pseudonyms George F. Preston and William Lancaster, and later under his own name. The tragedy Philoctetes: A Metrical Drama, published anonymously in 1866, was considered de Tabley’s most powerful work, but his poetry was largely overlooked by his contemporaries until the retrospective volume Poems Dramatic and Lyrical (1893) met with belated success. De Tabley also produced a standard work on bookplates, A Guide to the Study of Book-Plates (ex-libris) (1880).
The collection reflects de Tabley’s interests in literature, politics, botany and numismatics, and includes correspondence with numerous prominent later Victorian figures, such as Arthur Benson, Robert Bridges, Sir (Augustus) Wollaston Franks, Edmund Gosse, Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, Mary Molesworth, and the publishers Smith, Elder. There are also manuscript drafts and proofs of de Tabley’s published works, poetry notebooks, scrapbooks and miscellaneous literary papers, notes on botany and natural history, and papers relating to political affairs and the Cheshire militia.
Attention should also be drawn to de Tabley’s extensive and important collection of armorial bookplates.
- Catalogue available via Special Collections reading rooms.
- See also Dongho Chun, ‘Collecting Pieces of Oneself: Sir John Leicester’s Scrapbooks in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 82, no. 1 (2000), pp. 101–13.
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