Appendix 15: ‘Baron’ Corvo.

In what follows, unless otherwise stated, page numbers refer to the 1979 Penguin Books edition of A.J.A.Symons, The Quest for Corvo: an Experiment in Biography, first published in 1934. This biography, now regarded as something of a classic in its own right, has probably done as much to raise Corvo’s profile as the ‘Baron’s’ works themselves.

Frederick William Rolfe, unsuccessful artist, frustrated author and failed priest, aka Baron Corvo, was born of a middle-class English family in London in 1860 and died in relative poverty in Venice in 1913. His first published book was Stories Toto told Me (1898), which followed the appearance of six of the stories in the famous literary quarterly The Yellow Book in 1896-7. Today he is perhaps best remembered (at least by his fans, of which there are certainly a number) by his novel Hadrian the Seventh (1904), which, like much of the rest of his fictional output, was a sort of coded autobiography of his ambitions (p.26), with Rolfe himself as the hero, in the form George Arthur Rose, a struggling author and failed priest, who nevertheless becomes Pope Hadrian VII (p.18ff). But not only that, the book contains vengeful jibes at, and spiteful caricatures of, all those who had wronged him in his life (p.173) – and in Rolfe’s case, that was just about everybody he had ever met! In fact, one of Rolfe’s claims to fame today is the coded – and colourful – glimpses he gives of his (quite readily recognised) contemporaries, not just in Hadrian the Seventh, but in his other books as well, notably Nicholas Crabbe, which remained unpublished until 1958 simply for fear of libel actions! (For example, Alison Prince, in her book Kenneth Grahame: an Innocent in the Wild Wood (1994), p.102, quotes, from Nicholas Crabbe, Rolfe’s depiction of the publisher John Lane, in the character of ‘Slim Schelm’, as “a snivelling little swindler if you gave him a chance…a carroty dwarf, with a magenta face and puce pendulous lips…”) Here we are more concerned, though, with Rolfe’s book, cited in note 13, The Rubaiyat of Umar Khaiyam: done into English from the French of J.B.Nicolas, together with a reprint of the French Text, with an Introduction by Nathan Haskell Dole which he published under the name of Frederick Baron Corvo in 1903.

First, let us take a look at Rolfe’s title of Baron Corvo. Symons quotes a letter from Vincent O’Sullivan in which he says that Rolfe told him, in a letter, that ‘Baron’ was “a designation I picked up in Italy.”( p.80) O’Sullivan speculates that it might have been a minor title bestowed on him by the “Duc Sforza de Santafiore” (sic), in one of whose palaces in Rome Rolfe stayed as a guest. (This would have been in 1889 (p.71) – O’Sullivan hypothesised that Italian nobles were at that time allowed to bestow honorific titles more or less as they saw fit.) Again, an article in the Star newspaper for 29th October 1913  says that Baron Corvo was “an Italian title which he claimed to have acquired through the gift of some estates by a former Duchess of Cesarini-Sforza” (p.30), this being the correct rendering of the name mis-remembered by O’Sullivan. Finally, Charles Kains-Jackson heard a similar story directly from Rolfe: “Corvo owed his title, or said that he owed it, to an elderly English lady, the Duchess Sforza-Cesarini…who had…more or less adopted him as a grandson, and bestowed on him a small estate carrying the baronial title much as certain English properties carry the privilege of being Lord of the Manor.” (p.38). In fairness, Kains-Jackson adds that “there seemed no reason to doubt his claims.” But however it may have been, Corvo is Italian for Raven, and it is certainly known that in his time as a theological student at Oscott College in Birmingham in 1887-8 (p.72), of which more presently, Rolfe used a raven as his personal crest and even had a stuffed raven on his desk (p.70).

Oddly enough, despite Rolfe’s own ‘testimony’ as cited above, the Ducal origin of his ‘title’ is disputed in Dom Sylvester Houédard’s chapter “A Request for Rolfe” in New Quests for Corvo, edited by Cecil Woolf and Brocard Sewell (1965), p.118. Houédard rejects “the impossible hypothesis” of O’Sullivan, the Star newspaper account, and Kains-Jackson’s testimony, adding that:

“….in fact the Italian episode that contributed the rank was a Bishop’s joke (*) and the title that dates from Oscott is a reference to the line in Skelton’s poem The Book of Philip Sparrow, which speaks of ‘The raven called rolfe’(**).”

Houédard’s footnote (*) cites Leonard Moore’s account, published in The Bookman (April 1934), of how Rolfe’s explanation of his title, as told to him, “made no mention of a Duchess Cesarini-Sforza, but said that one day when he was at the Scots College (Rome) he was walking with a Bishop and the latter said that he, Rolfe, ought to have a title, so he made him Baron, then and there, with the name of the village of Corvo, upon which they were then looking down.” For the record, Houédard has not quoted the sentence of Moore’s following on from this: “A pleasant, simple tale, but as I did not believe a word of it I was untroubled by doubts as to whether bishops walked with the youths of the Scots College, whether they had the power of ennobling anyone, or even if there is a village with the name of Corvo.” (The Scots College, another training college for priests, where Rolfe went after leaving Oscott, was – and still is – in Rome, and again this would be 1889 – Symons p.82. It is not clear on a modern map, however, just where the village of Corvo was/is.)

As for Houédard’s footnote (**), this simply says “cf. Edward Hutton’s Catholicism and English Literature (1942), p.217.” But all that Hutton does is to list “F.W.Rolfe (Baron Corvo)” amongst the post-1845 “Catholic men and women of letters in England” (p.203), and to add in a footnote:

“‘Self-styled Baron Corvo’ his critics sometimes scornfully call him. Self-styled Baron, but not self-styled Corvo. In the Priest John Skelton’s (1460-1529) poem The Book of Philip Sparrow, the following line appears: ‘The raven called rolfe.’ This is surely the origin of the pseudonym of that strange and unhappy figure, Baron Corvo.”(p.217)

In other words, this is Hutton’s theory as to where Rolfe got his pseudonym from, not a statement of fact, and it is not clear whether Hutton had read Symons’ biography of Rolfe, or whether Rolfe had read Skelton’s poem. Be that as it may, “the raven called rolfe” is line 414 of Skelton’s poem. (Incidentally, I have been unable to discover what significance Skelton gave to the name Rolfe, though he might have used the name simply to rhyme with “solfe”, or “sol-fa” as we would now render it, meaning simply “to sing.”)

What is clear is that Rolfe’s title was suspect, as was so much else about the man. One of his contemporaries at Oscott College said that his fellow students regarded Rolfe as a poseur. He had arrived at the college playing the role of “an Oxford man”, but it was rapidly discovered that he had not been to the University at all – he had merely lived in the city for a short time. (Symons p.71) In the letter cited above, O’Sullivan repeated the Oxford pretence, adding that “he had what used to be known as the ‘Oxford accent’ to the extreme.” (p.78). Another contemporary at Oscott said that, “He explained to me that ‘Rolfe’ really came from ‘Rollo’, the common ancestor of himself and William the Conqueror. He had an overweening vanity.” (p.70.) A contemporary at the Scots College in Rome complained of “his tendency to ‘swank’”, adding that, despite his professed horror of lying, “he was universally regarded as about the biggest liar we had ever met.” (p.83) Finally, in 1890 he persuaded the publisher Elkin Mathews to announce a forthcoming book The Story of S. William: the Boy Martyr of Norwich, “by the Rev. Frederick William Rolfe, Late Professor of English Literature and History at S. Marie’s College of Oscott.” (p.90) The book never appeared, and, Symons adds, was probably never written. But more than that, Rolfe was never a Professor, at Oscott, nor anywhere else for that matter; and far from being a Reverend, he never even made it to priesthood, having been “asked to leave” both Oscott (p.74) and the Scots College (p.84)! In the case of the former, it would appear that Rolfe was sponsored by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, and that the Bishop withdrew his funding when he realised that Rolfe was spending more time on his hobby of painting than he was on his priestly studies. In the case of the latter, it would appear that Rolfe was expelled by the Rector after his fellow students complained that “his general laxity and carelessness lowered the tone of the college.” (Though this is amusing to read now, there is actually a real tragedy in it all, as it was a major disappointment of Rolfe’s life that the Church would not accept him as a priest – hence his delusional self-promotion to Pope Hadrian VII in his novel.) Nevertheless, his expulsion from both Oscott College and the Scots College did not stop him turning up in North Wales, in 1895, posing as “a shabby, pious itinerant artist, calling himself ‘Fr. Austin’.” Firstly he sought “aid and work” from the Franciscan brothers of Pantasaph, and when that came to a sudden end (he was “found reading a Kingsley novel instead of the edifying book provided by his spiritual director”), he sought work at the shrine of St Winefride’s Well at Holywell (p.92-3.) Here he was engaged to paint some banners for the shrine, and all went well until he decided that he wanted more than just food and lodging for his efforts….(p.105) [As regards Rolfe’s banners, see the note at the end of this Appendix.] Much later, when he decided to drop his Baron Corvo pretence, he took to styling himself “Fr. Rolfe”. This, of course, can be read as both Frederick Rolfe and Father Rolfe (p.171-2), again symptomatic of his thwarted ambitions to become a priest. After all that pretence, it becomes rather strange when one encounters a letter to his brother signed simply “Freddy”! (p.182)

As regards Rolfe’s translation of Nicolas’ Omar, which he produced, remember, under the authorship of Frederick Baron Corvo, this was, as indicated in note 13, published in both England and America. (The publisher, in fact, was John Lane, Rolfe’s caricature of whom we quoted above.) The project had the enthusiastic support of Nathan Haskell Dole, who, in his Introduction, dubbed Corvo “a masterly translator,” adding that “he often penetrates through the decorative filigree of the French style to something approaching ‘Umar’s own marvellous concentration, condensation.” (p.ix) (Dole’s standard work on The Rubaiyat is cited in note 1a.) Not only that, but the project was apparently suggested to Rolfe by no less than Henry Harland (the editor of TheYellow Book) and Kenneth Grahame (famous now for Wind in the Willows (1908), but at that time a member of The Yellow Book circle) – for which see Symons p.163 and also Dole’s Introduction, p.xiv. However, a key factor for Rolfe was probably that FitzGerald’s version was enjoying huge popularity on both sides of the Atlantic at that time, so that here was a chance of literary and financial success. According to Symons, “Rolfe was very pleased with his translation, and expected it to make his fortune.” (p.165) [Rolfe’s other major disappointment in life, besides never being accepted as a priest, was lack of recognition for his writing, and, of course, the associated lack of remuneration for his efforts. Money was always a problem for him, throughout his life. In 1893 he was ejected – wearing only his pyjamas!-  from his lodgings in Aberdeen for non-payment of rent (p.51) and part of the reason he was expelled from the Scots College in Rome may well also have been his failure to pay his rent (p.71). He was well known for bad debts (p.79, p.88); he was dubbed “a sponger” by the wife of one of his friends (p.151); and he had, by his own admission, “a frightful time with money worries” (p.169).] Unfortunately, as Symons tactfully put it, “it is only by the enthusiastic that Rolfe’s text can be read for pleasure” (p.165), as a result of which the book “fell flat in England, and was stillborn in the United States. (p.166) Rolfe never did make his fortune, either from Omar or from anything else, and, as stated earlier, he died in relative poverty.

Given the failure of the first edition of Rolfe’s Omar, it would be interesting to know the circumstances in which a second edition of it came to be published in 1924, this time illustrated by Hamzeh Carr and with an Introduction by no less an authority than Edward Heron-Allen. But alas, Heron-Allen’s Introduction gives no details regarding the circumstances behind its publication, so one is left wondering if perhaps it was a limited edition produced, as Symons put it, “for the enthusiastic”. It is worth noting, though, that Heron-Allen considered Dole’s introduction to the first edition to be “a remarkable literary feat” and referred to Corvo as “a remarkable and eccentric genius, who left a fantastic mark upon English literature during the concluding years of the nineteenth century.” His comments on the strange contrast between Nicolas and Corvo are worth quoting:

“Nicolas, as a ripe scholar, could appreciate the meanings of the original rubaiyat, but he was not only of an austere and puritan turn of mind, but he was also deeply imbued with the dogmata of Sufi mysticism, and paraphrased with a liberty that at times almost amounted to licence in an effort to ‘whitewash’ poor ‘Umar, and to read into his quatrains mystical interpretations of the most materialistic sentiments. ‘Baron Corvo’, on the other hand, proceeded far in the opposite direction, and being without the knowledge equipping him to judge of the original meaning of the Persian text, converted the whole of Nicolas’ prose into a gospel of pure sensualism, into which he introduced a predominant note of homosexuality, which is far from justified by the original. He seems to have laid hold of the occasional references to khush pisaran – beautiful youths – which occur ad nauseam in most oriental poems, and dragged the most regrettable interpretation of this occasional phrase into every quatrain in which the passion of love, mystic or material, is even lightly referred to, and so gives him an opportunity to ride his hobby.” (p.v-vi)

Despite all this, Heron-Allen goes on to say of Corvo’s translation that “from a purely literary standpoint, it is a remarkable and interesting performance”, adding that he can “cordially endorse” Dole’s view that Corvo was “a masterly translator.” (p.x).

As regards the above quoted paragraph, recall the remarks in chapter 14 of the main essay about the homosexual undertones of the “pretty young boy” sakis, or servers of wine, in Omar’s verses, and their possible resonance with FitzGerald’s latent homosexuality. Baron Corvo was himself a homosexual. He was, as Symons put it in one of his more sympathetic moments, “one in whom nature had not implanted a love for women” (p.66). But he was one who, in Venice, was “a patron of that homosexual underworld which exists in every city” (p.241), and who apparently had a fondness for young boys. Hence, we may suppose, his overemphasis on “beautiful youths” in his translation.

Though I have used Symons’ classic The Quest for Corvo in the above, readers should be aware that there is a more detailed, if less entertaining, biography of Corvo:  Miriam J. Benkovitz, Frederick Rolfe: Baron Corvo (1977). For The Rubaiyat, see particularly p.115-6 & p.134-6. Benkovitz refers to Rolfe’s Rubaiyat as “to a large extent a paean to wine and homosexuality” (p.116) and reveals that it was John Lane who assured him that he would “net four figures” from the book (p.135.)

How homosexually biased is Rolfe’s Translation ?

One of the things that intrigued me about Heron–Allen undertaking to write an Introduction and Notes to the 1924 edition of Rolfe’s translation was that Rolfe knew no Persian, and had merely translated Nicolas’s translation from Persian into French. Not only that, but as Heron–Allen saw it, Rolfe had made of Nicolas’s translation, “a gospel of pure sensualism, into which he introduced a predominant note of homosexuality, which is far from justified by the original.” (Introduction p.v–vi) How far Rolfe’s translation of Nicolas portrays this is open to debate, attitudes to homosexuality having changed so much since Heron–Allen’s time.

Since Rolfe did not read Persian, the most homoerotic verse in the original (v.221) escaped him. The original actually begins “O, sweet boy” (Introduction p.vi & Notes p.xxviii–xxix), and proceeds to dwell, in no uncertain terms, on the arousing nature of his bodily charms. Nicolas softens “O sweet boy” to “être adorable” (adorable being), which becomes “Lover o’ me” in Corvo’s translation (p.90–1), thus losing most of its force – the ‘Baron’ repeatedly uses that curious phrase “Lover o’ me” to translate both Nicolas’s “ami” (male friend) and “amie” (female friend), as well as his “mon coeur”(my heart) and “mon âme” (my soul.)

Likewise, v.234 of the original – the famous verse which was defused by Nicolas as an unfortunate example of the Oriental use of erotic symbolism to convey an intense Love of God (Notes p.xxx) – became fairly innocuous in Corvo’s translation.

What Heron–Allen clearly had in mind when he talked of Corvo’s “predominant note of homosexuality” was his repeated translation of Nicolas’s “échanson” (cup–bearer or saki – eg. v.18, v.188, v.415, to cite but three amongst at least twenty such) as “Ganymedes”, for the Greek myth of Ganymede represents the classically ‘acceptable’ face of Greek Love or pederasty. (According to Roman mythology, copied from the Greek, the beautiful youth Ganymede was carried off to heaven by an eagle, in the words of Lemprière’s Classical Dictionary, “to satisfy the unnatural desires of Jupiter.”)

Again, in v.77, Rolfe renders “des danseurs” as “a Gymnopaidike” (a naked boy gymnast or dancer), though this is the only quatrain in which he does this.

Another one–off, in v.271, is Rolfe’s rendering of “des belles aux yeux langoureux du narcisse” as “Lovers with languishing Eyes of Narkissos.” Thus he turns Nicolas’s reference to beautiful women with narcissus–like eyes to one referring to the beautiful youth of Greek mythology, the son of a river–god and a nymph, who was condemned by Nemesis to fall in love with his own reflection.

In fairness to Rolfe, though, he does allow some specific references to “lovely girl(s)” to stand without any attempt to change their sex (v.150, 242, 257 & 358.)

Anyone reading Rolfe’s translation today, then, would scarcely class it as a hotbed of homoeroticism.

A Note on the Holywell Banners.

‘Baron Corvo’ being such a colourful, if unpleasant, character, it may interest readers to know that five of the banners painted by him have survived and are on display in the Museum at St. Winefride’s Well. They were designed to be carried in religious processions relating to the shrine, and they depict St. Winefride, St. Augustine of Canterbury, St. George, St. Gregory the Great and St. Ignatius of Loyola. A good account of them, with illustrations, can be found in T.W.Pritchard, St Winefride, her Holy Well and the Jesuit Mission, c.650-1930 (2009), p.310 & p.339-349, with the illustrations facing p.224 & on the rear dust-jacket; also in the small but detailed monograph by Robert Scoble, Frederick Rolfe’s Holywell Banners (2010), which contains full-page illustrations of each of the five banners, plus a photograph of two of them being carried in procession in about 1899.

Heron–Allen’s involvement with the Rolfe / Corvo edition.

[This section details the results of research done at the London Library after the foregoing section of this Appendix was written.]

So, why did Edward Heron–Allen (hereafter EHA) take on the job of writing the Introduction to the 1924 edition of Rolfe’s translation, given what he saw as its homosexual slant, and given that, “When Mr Lane sent me the edition of 1903, I declined the task of reviewing it” (Introduction p.vi)?

Part of the answer lies in a unique volume in the Heron–Allen Collection at the London Library (hereafter LL). Inside it are bound together a copy of Nicolas’s translation of 1867 followed by an annotated copy (made up from proof–sheets) of the EHA–Corvo edition of 1924. More importantly, tipped–in to this volume are various newspaper clippings, reviews, letters, an article by Shane Leslie about “Frederick Baron Corvo”, originally published in the September 1923 issue of The London Mercury (mentioned in Introduction, p.v, footnote), and clips about Corvo–related material.

One of the letters pasted–in to this volume is from John Lane. It is dated September 7th 1923. In it he says he would be glad if EHA could see his way to write “a short introduction” for the new edition of Corvo’s translation of Nicolas. He mentions having had illustrations done for it by Hamzeh Carr, of which he is sending proofs to EHA. He would prefer not to re–use Nathan Haskell Dole’s introduction to the first edition, which was done for publication in America, and would prefer instead one by EHA. Finally, it appears that Lane had consulted EHA previously “on a literary matter”, for which, since he “did not desire a fee”, Lane had sent him some books. Consequently, in return for doing the Introduction to the new Corvo edition, Lane offered him ten guineas worth of books by way of payment. There is no mention at this stage of EHA doing any Notes on the Corvo translation – only a short Introduction to it.

EHA clearly agreed to do the Introduction, for the next LL letter from Lane, dated September 15th 1923, says that he hopes EHA can get the Introduction to him by September 22nd, if possible, and that he “will be able to say a word about the illustrations.”

Now, as it happens, we have EHA’s reply to this, dated September 19th 1923 – it is one of several letters preserved in the John Lane Correspondence File Series at Reading University Library (hereafter RUL.) In it he says of his Introduction, “It’s not a thing to be roughed off in a hurry, my reputation is at stake!” He goes on to say that he thinks Dole’s original introduction was admirable, that it should be retained, and that it should be prefixed by his own Introduction “which I think should be on the lines of comparing Nicolas with the literal translation of the MSS which FitzGerald used.“ After saying, “Who is Baron Corvo anyhow ?” (he clearly hadn’t seen Shane Leslie’s article at this stage) he concludes by saying that he finds Carr’s illustrations “very interesting.” Notice, again, that at this stage Lane had only asked EHA for an Introduction, not the copious Notes that he was now preparing.

Back in the LL is a reply from Lane dated 21st Sept 1923 saying that he quite likes the idea of retaining the Dole Introduction, and suggests a meeting for lunch. EHA’s reply to this, at RUL, dated 22nd Sept 1923, says he can’t make lunch, but tells Lane that he has done notes on about 100 quatrains. Still at the RUL, by 30th September EHA is writing to B.W. Willett, one of the directors of the firm of John Lane the Bodley Head, saying that he will shortly be bringing him the whole of the Notes and (hopefully) the Introduction as well, and suggests, in view of the extra work involved in the Notes, that the original fee of 10 guineas should be increased to £20 plus 12 copies of the book. Willett’s reply, after consultation with Lane and other Board Members, and dated 4th October 1923, is in the LL. Whilst he admits that the Notes will add value to the book from the scholarly point of view, their length plus the typesetting of the Persian script in them will add considerably to the production costs, already high on account of the illustrations. Therefore “under these circumstances” they cannot offer more than the original 10 guineas as a fee, though they are happy to throw in 12 copies of the book.

There is a gap in the correspondence at this point, both at the LL and the RUL, so there is as yet no record of how EHA responded to this. (As we shall see, in the end, he only received a cheque for 10 guineas plus 12 copies of the book.) When the correspondence does pick up again, it is about proof–sheets and delays in publication of the book, partly caused by problems with getting the Persian text printed, and partly because of the General Election “which made things so dull in the bookselling world that we were afraid of an absolute failure if we brought the book out so late.” But a cheque for his efforts will soon be in the post, he is reassured. (Letter from Willett, dated 13th December 1923 at the LL. As the book was originally planned to come out in time for Christmas, “so late” presumably means so close to Christmas.)

EHA’s reply to this, at RUL, dated 14th December 1923, asks Willett if it would at least be possible to have an advance copy of the book, or, preferably, a set of the sheets unbound. “I have got a duplicate copy of Nicolas at last,” he went on, “& I should like to have it interleaved with the Bodley Head book & bound up for my library.” Here then is the genesis of that unique copy of the 1924 edition of Corvo in the LL.

Next, we know that EHA received a cheque for 10 guineas, together with the promise of a set of proof sheets after Christmas (Letter from Willett dated 21st December 1923 at the LL.) But come March 1924, EHA had still not received a copy of the book, bound or unbound, and he was not happy. It was at this stage that EHA thought the book had actually been published, but nobody had thought to tell him. On 25th March he wrote to Willett to say that he had actually seen the book advertised for sale in a bookseller’s catalogue (*), and that being the case, “I shall be glad to have the 12 copies, as per your letter of 4th October last.” (RUL) Willett replied on 27th March (LL) to say that the book certainly hadn’t been published, and he was afraid that it wouldn’t be until the autumn. But when it was out, he went on, EHA would certainly receive his 12 copies as promised. Meanwhile, he would much like to know in which catalogue he saw the book advertised. “I don’t think it is possible,” he added, “that any of the half–dozen copies that were bound up as specimens could have got loose.” This made EHA see red. In a letter to Willett dated 28th March (RUL) he wrote:

I really do think that if you bound up “specimen copies” you might have had the consideration to send me one, in view of the vast amount of work I did for you, for which you refused to pay (my fault I admit, but one does these things under a misapprehension at times), & the fact that you knew I was anxious to bind a copy with Nicolas, & promised me a set of sheets “soon after Christmas.”

This, of course, shows that EHA fully acknowledged that in doing his Notes as well as the Introduction he had, in effect, voluntarily done far more than John Lane had ever asked for, but that, even so, he had deserved more financial consideration than he had got, if only via a gentleman’s agreement. He concluded this letter, the last at either the LL or the RUL somewhat acidly thus:

You will very properly reply that I have shown myself to be a foolish & trustful old gentleman & therefore unworthy of any consideration whatever. And you will be quite right. I ought to have known better.

One wonders if, in the end, EHA might have felt himself in sympathy (had he lived to see its publication in 1958) with ‘Baron Corvo’s’ characterisation of John Lane, quoted earlier, as “a snivelling little swindler if you gave him a chance.”


For ‘Baron Corvo’, Heron–Allen and ‘The Hotel Window Story’, see Edward Heron–Allen: a walk on the wild side.

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(*) The book dealer was William Brough & Sons, of Leamington Spa, and two letters from them, in response to EHA’s queries (dated 29th March & 1st April 1924), together with a copy of the catalogue entry, are pasted–in to the LL copy of the Nicolas–Corvo volume. Apparently Brough & Sons had based their catalogue entry on the strength of a promise from a publisher’s traveller, who was soliciting orders at the time.



Acknowledgements.

My thanks are due to Amanda Stebbings, Head of Member Services at the London Library, for finding the LL’s temporarily elusive copy of the EHA–Corvo 1924 volume, which contains the letters from Lane & Willett to EHA; and to Tim McCann, Chairman & Archivist of the Heron–Allen Society, for supplying transcripts of the letters from EHA to Lane & Willett at Reading University Library.