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Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving [together with] ALS by Bram Stoker

Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving [together with] ALS by Bram Stoker



Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving [together with] ALS in Stoker’s hand, signed by Irving.  

London: William Heinemann, 1906


8vo., 2 vols; bright red publisher’s cloth, lettered in gilt to upper boards and spine, the former also featuring a portrait of Irving in gilt inside decorative oval border; publisher’s device blindstamped to lower boards; outer edges untrimmed; pp. [ix], viii-xii, [ii], 372; [v], vi, [iii], 2-388; with two frontis portraits behind mounted tissue guards, and numerous other illustrations throughout; both volumes in far better condition to those often found, some pages entirely unopened, very fresh and clean throughout, the tissue a tad browned and endpapers offset; otherwise lovely examples, the cloth a little rubbed, pushed and sunned along spine


[together with] 


ALS on Lyceum Theatre headed notepaper (25 x 20cm, folded to 12.5 x 20cm); written in Stoker’s hand and signed by Henry Irving; one small brown mark to upper portion, else fine. 


This biography was the third work of non-fiction written by Stoker, who was Irving’s business manager at the Lyceum theatre in London. The pair enjoyed a working relationship which lasted over 30 years, beginning in 1876 when Stoker had travelled to Dublin to watch a performance of Hamlet, in which Irving was starring. Michael Kilgarriff of the Irving Society wrote of their friendship: “Irving provided the star power and the driving force, Bram a bottomless well of loyalty and the administrative capability to keep the show on the road.” These volumes were published one year after Irving’s death in 1905. 


The letter is a fascinating one. In it, Irving writes to a Mr Brookes “many thanks for the picture of Toole whom I have discovered (in your group) after hard study”. The recipient was Warwick Brookes, a pioneering photographer who also took several portraits of Henry Irving himself, some of which were published in magazines such as The Sketch and The Strand. The portrait he is referring to is one of John Lawrence Toole, to whom these volumes are dedicated in Vol I, (p.[vii]) “Loving Comrade and True Friend”. Toole was an English comic actor and theatrical producer, who was the first actor to have a West End theatre named after him. 


A fascinating association.

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