[ T. J. Wise: Proof of what would be the first volume of his Tennyson bibliography, with Signed Autograph Inscription to W. M. Rossetti. ] A Bibliography of the Writings of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

'T. J. W.' [ Thomas James Wise; T. J. Wise ] (1859-1937), book collector, forger and thief [ William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919); Rose Esther Dorothea Sketchley (1875-1949) ]
Publication details: 
'Of this Book One Hundred Copies Only have been Printed.' London: Printed for Private Circulation. 1907. [ Printer not named, but with date stamp of Richard Clay and Sons, Bread Street Hill, E.C. [ London ], and Bungay, Suffollk, 1 November 1907. ]
SKU: 20259

Alan Bell, in his entry on Wise in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, characterizes him as 'both a careless and a dishonest bibliographer' (see also Simon Nowell-Smith, 'T. J. Wise as Bibliographer' in the Library, 1969). One of Wise's aims was clearly to legitimize his forgeries, and as John Collins states in 'The Two Forgers' (1992), his bibliographies are all 'more or less tarred with Wise's own publications'. Of the hundred 'forgeries and suspect pamphlets' by Wise and Buxton Forman listed by Barker and Collins in Appendix Seven of 'A Sequel to An Enquiry' (1983), no fewer than eighteen (items 78-95) are by Tennyson, a fact which lends great interest to Wise's various descriptions of items he himself pirated in the present volume, the title-page of which reads: 'A | BIBLIOGRAPHY | OF | THE WRITINGS OF | ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON. | [fleuron] | LONDON: | PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION | 1907'. With the constant acquisitions to his library, Wise worked on his various bibliographies as he went along, and the present volume (divided into 'Editiones Principes, Etc.' and 'Contributions to Periodical Literature, Etc.') would be published the following year as the first volume in a two-volume set (vol.2: 'Pirated issues', 'Collected editions', 'Complete volumes of biography and criticism', 'Alphabetical list'). It is xv + 363 pp., 8vo. In manuscript on title-page: 'Vol. I.' 36 plates are present, including several reproducing title pages of forgeries by Wise and Buxton Forman. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper. On the reverse of the title is the stamp and manuscript shelf-mark of Fulham Public Libraries. Printers' date stamp on reverse of last leaf of prelims. Wise's presentation inscription, on the half-title, reads: 'W. M. Rossetti | from the Editor T. J. Wise | 1907'. On p. 292 Wise has corrected six instances of the misspelling of the word 'Antechamber' as 'Antichamber'. Proof sheets of a volume which was issued in 1908. (Collins, in 'The Two Forgers' (1992), suggests that a proof from the Tennyson bibliography may have been 'specially set' to entice the American collector J. H. Wrenn.) Differences noted from the volume as issued in 1908 are an inverted vignette and the date 1907 on the title page, the absence of two paragraphs from the preface, and minor variations on pp. 85-86 98-99 (transposition of items 21 and 22), 258 and 262. The item was previously bound by Rossetti with two sale catalogues. It then passed into the collection of the art historian Rose Sketchley, whose sister C. J. Sketchley presented it to Fulham Public Libraries in 1949. The volume contains a number of pencil annotations, in what is possibly Sketchley's hand, several concerning Tennyson items at auction (one as late as 1924) and a couple regarding pirated editions by Richard Herne Shepherd. There are four copies of this 1907 proof of what would be the first volume of the bibliography listed on OCLC WorldCat, and no proof copies of the second volume, the probability being that events overtook Wise, and that he did not have time to distribute any.