London: Methuen & Co., [1956 & 1961]. Two volumes. Large, thick octavos. Gilt lettered blue cloth. Frontispieces and plates. The first volume: spine a trifle cocked, but very good and bright in rather shelf-worn, chipped and creased dust jacket. The second volume: about fine in very faintly edgeworn dust jacket. Item #WRCLIT85534
First editions, each with the tasteful bookplate of Anthony Hobson in the corner of the front pastedown, and each inscribed by Acton to him. The first volume: "For Anthony Hobson - may he visit Portici Resina & San Giorgio a Cremano before they are utterly destroyed! with best wishes from Harold Action." The second: "For Anthony Hobson hoping to convert him to Bourbonism, with best regards from Harold Acton." The two are accompanied by three autograph letters, signed, from Acton to Hobson, La Pietra, Florence, 16 September 1962 and 11 October 1964, four full pages on two quarto sheets, with one envelope, and Hyde Park Hotel, London, 24 November 1964, two pages, on recto and verso of small octavo sheet of hotel letterhead, with envelope. The first two letters are warm, welcoming, and enthusiastic, with discussion of travels, food, and in that for 1962, the present works and others: "Of course it was never my intention to whitewash the dear old Bourbons, but I wanted to do them justice and evoke Naples in happier days, with the aid of contemporary witnesses. I was less at home in the 19th than in the 18th century, and the second volume gave me more trouble than the first. However, I'm glad it won your approval. It is now being translated into Italian. 'Glue and Lacquer' must be very rare. It was sold out immediately due to Eric Gill's illustrations no doubt, which are not exactly my cup of tea ... Nearly all of my publications are out of print, alas, so it is a comfort to know that you are interested ...." The London letter of November serves to update Hobson on Acton's forthcoming surgery and anticipated period of recuperation. RITCHIE A15a & A18a.