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The Course of Time [with manuscript fragment]

The Course of Time [with manuscript fragment] by POLLOK, Robert [Adam White] (1836)

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Author: POLLOK, Robert [Adam White]
Title: The Course of Time [with manuscript fragment]
Year: 1836
Publisher: William Blackwood & Sons
Place: Edinburgh and London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £950
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Scottish zoologist Adam White's repeatedly inscribed and extra-illustrated copy with a portion of manuscript by the author laid in. White worked in the Zoology department of the British Museum where in 1841 he was tasked with identifying and preserving Darwin's spiders from the Beagle voyage. This copy includes the signatures of scientists, intellectuals and a couple of polar explorers whom he met in London during the 1830s and 1840s.

The book has been recently rebound in simple half sheepskin over marbled boards with several additional leaves and engravings bound in. Laid in is a fragment of Robert Pollok's handwriting, 15 lines over both sides of the paper, on the power of eyesight 'By the eye the incarnate spirit can survey about, almost as rapidly as disembodied thought...' The writer's brother has noted round the margin of the manuscript: 'This MS of my brother the author of "The Course of Things" was given to Mr Adam White by me David Pollok.'

White's ownership signature appears on the half-title: 'Adam White April 1837. London 61 Judd Street' - close to the British Museum in London's Bloomsbury. White's collection of autographs comprises public figures whom he met in London as well as members of his own family and friends, often from Scotland. So, the title to Section VI of the book contains the signatures of William Penny the Artic explorer and Peter Sutherland, the surgeon who served with him on HMS Sophia. These were secured shortly after the pair's return from the 1850-1 voyage in search of Sir John Franklin and sit alongside 'Captain Stewart the arctic Voyager', Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, the dinosaur artist and Samuel Birch of the BM. Crucially, White recorded the dates on which he secured his signatures so we can place the Arctic explorers together with him on November 28th, 1851, just off Bedford Square in Bloomsbury. A little earlier, on February 23rd 1849 White spent the evening at 9 Chadwell Street, Myddelton Square in London where he gathered the signatures of 'T.H. Henry ["F.R.S." to be chemistry] Arthur Henfrey [F.L.S. Botany.] W Francis F.L.S. [Editor of Annals]' and others.

Most of White's collection of signatures were collected while socialising in his area of Bloomsbury and north London though there are three from Cape Town and in 1837 White visited Professor Richard Owen in Richmond Park and asked Owen, his wife and son William, his gardener 'George Adams [Professor Owen's gardener, born St Augustine, Norwich 20th Sept 1812]' and other family members to sign this book. Opposite he sketched the butterfly expert W G Hewitson's house in Wadebridge (see image). There are also entries for the zoologist William S Dallas, 'George Lance. [the artist]' (painter of still lives and watercolours) and 'John Niven MD at 61 Judd Street Sep 23. 1843 [son of Niven, who collected plants at the Cape after whom the Nivenia was named. John was my class fellow at Lindsay's High School in 1827...'

Occasionally White records events in diary style such as the death of his British Museum colleague 'Edward Doubleday... assistant in the Zoological Department... after a severe and protracted illness...' ' and he has copied a page-long biography of the author of the book itself, Pollok. Later signatures include those of the scientific artist Joseph Dinkel 'draughtsman of Agassiz', Alexander Keith (writer on prophecy), William Baly the surgeon, 'Thomas Nelson Jr' and 'William Nelson' of the Edinburgh publishers as well as Henry Shaw (antiquary) 'Richard Westmacott R.A. and one more publisher, Jonathan Bagster.
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