Week 4 The project is now at an end
The project is now at an end. The books are fully digitized, including the book plates and hand-written notes.
The last part of the project has been detective work, trying to find out where the book came from and which copy it is.
I had help with this, as someone had previously identified (based on the pasted-in clippings) that the book was an Edwards of Halifax binding – a very important clue that would eventually cause the mystery of the book’s origins to be solved.
First, the clipping, and other corroborating sources shone light on the inconsistency of the fourth volume- i.e. the lack of watercolours and the later edition used in its construction.
It is important to realize that these books were special-order, and not all made at the same time (though they were probably bound as one in the 1880s), you see, Richard Bull, the great friend of Pennant and collector and compiler of book-art (grangerizing), was given the first “book” (which he divided into volumes one and two) when it was first published in the form of loose leaf with extra-wide margins, as a special, made-up for him and various friends of Pennant. As it was Bull’s great hobby to extra-illustrate his books, with watercolour copies when he could not acquire additional plates, he asked Pennant to lend him John Griffiths in order to illustrate his book. This was not possible in the spring of 1780 when Bull was doing this work, as Griffiths was busy with Pennant, however, on his personal recommendation, John Ingleby was engaged as a copyist for the first book, the original Tours in Wales, (Bangor Vols 1 & 2).
After this, Pennant wrote the Journey to Snowdon, and, as Griffiths married in 1781, Pennant allowed him some flexibility in whom he worked for; so when Bull asked that his large format book (again sent in special loose-leaf) be extra-illustrated, it was Griffiths himself that did the work.
Because of disagreements between Bull and Griffiths, it would appear that the work on the Tours’ fourth volume (published in 1784) was set aside. Bull and Griffiths apparently did not work together on it again, though The Journey from Chester to London was extensively worked upon in 1783-4, so it may be, that the work was simply put aside in favour of Chester to London, a work that Bull did not finish and send to the binders until 1791.
There may be further evidence that the Bangor copy was abandoned by Bull, the note pasted in the book dates the binding of it to 1881-4, in which case it would have been done by his estate’s eventual heir (after several changes of hands down the family) Sir Henry Percy Gordon, who was renovating the estate.
Richard Bull purchased the Northcourt estate on the Isle of White in 1795, and the family remained there until 1938, the library passing through the hands of several generations before being sold by Robert William Disney Leith (Lord Burgh) shortly after the death of his wife, in 1926. The year Bangor acquired the book.
Publication date: 23 August 2017