Ovid's Metamorphoses epitomized in an English Poetical Style for the Use and Entertainment of the Ladies of Great Britain.

OVID edited by,; TINDAL Nicholas (1760)

£2850.00  [First Edition]

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First Edition. Small 8vo. [154 x 94mm)]. [2], v-xv, [1], 236, [4 (advertisements)]pp., title-page printed in red and black. Very lightly browned and some slight spotting in places but otherwise fine. Contemporary red morocco, covers elaborately tooled in gilt, spine gilt, black morocco label, marbled endleaves, gilt edges, green ribbon marker (spine a little darkened, very slightly rubbed at the joints and edges).


London: for Robert Horsfield, 1760

ESTC records British Library, Chawton House and Bodley in the U.K; more common in the USA. Rare Book Hub does not record a single copy. The one and only record on ABPC is for the Browning copy (see below).


A very pretty copy of this abridgement of Ovid - designed for the use (and improvement) of young ladies and dedicated to the 15 year old Lady Sarah Lennox.


The dedication to "Lady Lennox" is signed "N Tindal" suggesting that the translation and abridgement was prepared by Nicholas Tindal (1687-1774) who is most famous as the translator of Paul de Rapin's Histoire d'Angleterre which was published in London between 1723-5. Tindal also wrote a Continuation of Rapin which took the work up to the accession of George II in 1727. 


Tindal writes more broadly in his dedication:


"This abridgment is designed not only for the benefit of those who are either unable or unwilling to read the original or the translations at large, but chiefly for the improvement of your sex, a matter of infinitely more importance than what is commonly thought... It is scarce to be conceiv’d, what advantages would accrue to civil societies, if a more rational education was bestowed on that half of the human species, which governs the other. - For the experience of all ages plainly shows, that such as the women are, such will be the men. - Hence the effeminacy, which so universally prevails in dress, equipage, furniture, amusements, and even in the very arts and sciences - What can remedy these infatuations? What can cure these egregious follies? - The answer is easy. - Let your sex be early impressed with true notions of things. - With sentiments of honour, virtue, and greatness of mind. ... To prepare the way to so happy a change, the Fables of Ovid seem to be extremely well calculated. - They are highly entertaining to read. - Consequently they will take off the female mind from trifling amusements, and fix the attention. They afford a knowledge no less useful than pleasant. ...” 


The book is dedicated to the young Lady Sarah Lennox (1745-1826) who would have been 15 years old when it was published. Tindal writes that the "Fables of Ovid were abridged for your ladyship’s private use" suggesting that Tindal may have been employed as tutor. Sarah Lennox was the second youngest of four daughters of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond (1701-50). Sarah was sent, along with her two sisters Cecilia and Louisa to live in Ireland with their elder sister Emily (who in 1747 had married James Fitzgerald, 1st Duke of Leinster) after first her father died in 1750 and her mother died in 1751. Sarah returned to England in November 1759 and lived with her eldest sister, Lady Caroline Fox husband of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland. Sarah Lennox was much admired by the Prince of Wales (later George III) and Horace Walpole said of her "No Magdalene by Correggio was half so lovely or expressive" (see ODNB). It seemed highly likely that Lennox would marry the future King but various parties discourages the Prince and he instead married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1761. Sarah went on to have an unhappy marriage to Charles Bunbury and had a number of affairs including one with Lord William Gordon which resulted in the birth of a child. Bunbury offerd to bring up the child as his own by Lennox left her husband and did not return instead she lived with her sister at Goodwood. She later married George Napier (1751-1804) and had eight children.


A presentation copy (to the Duchess of Richmond) of this work bound in "old English red morocco extra, gold borders on sides" was sold at Sotheby's in 1890 and perhaps suggests that a number of copies were elaborately bound, such as this one, for presentation. 


Robert Browning's copy ("sgnd & with notes") was sold at Christie's in December 1983. 


Provenance: Lynedoch Gardiner (1820-1897), signature in the upper margin of the title-page dated February 12th 1865. Gardiner has produced a neat 5pp index on the front flyleaves.


Literature:  Stella Tillyard's Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740–1832 (1995).


Stock Code: 229550

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