[Arthur Sidgwick, classical scholar and promoter of women's education.] Autograph Letter Signed ('A Sidgwick') to Lady Cullum of Hardwick House, written in good spirits after a visit.

Arthur Sidgwick (1840-1920), classical scholar and promoter of women's education at Oxford, brother of Henry Sidgwick [Trinity College, Cambridge; Lady Ann Cullum (1807-1875) of Hardwick House]
Publication details: 
1 May 1863; Cambridge.
SKU: 22438

Arthur Sidgwick's long entry in the Oxford DNB concludes with the following assessment: 'a university liberal of rare consistency and stamina: a progressive bridging Victorian and Edwardian generations, and pre-eminent among the male dons who made a place for women's higher education in Oxford'. At the time of the present letter he was nearing the end of a 'brilliant' undergraduate career at Cambridge, with the winning of many prizes: 'In 1863 he was second in the first class of the classical tripos and fourteenth senior optime in mathematics, and was also president of the union. He was a scholar of Trinity (1861–4) and later a fellow (1864–9).' The recipient was the widow of Rev. Sir Thomas Gery Cullum (1777-1855). She was a notable hostess, and her residence Hardwick House was famed for its garden. 2pp, 12mo. Mourning border. In good condition, lightly aged, with mourning border. Folded twice. A charming and good-natured letter, written after a visit to Hardwick House, which he had evidently left without saying goodbye. The letter begins: 'My dear Lady Cullum | All the way to Cambridge my memory dwelt with pleasure on the bright images which flitted before me at Hardwick'. He refers to her 'most enchanting house & grounds', before continuing: '& this morning I saw, when I rose before the sun, the Knot in my handkerchief. [last four words underlined] But I sometimes can remember without such external help. Let me not boast! I am too great a sinner for that; but surely I may tell truth, when truth tells on my side'. He explains that he has 'written to the Norwich photographer who did my face', ordering him 'to send to Lady Cullum two carte de visite photographs of my fair & youthful countenance. This he will do, I trust, before long: but his movements are none of the quickest - I am a very easy riser, because I am a bad sleeper. I was up, this sweet may morning at five -' He ends by quoting four lines from 'Chaucer's delicious description of a May morning in his Palamon & Arcite', and asks: 'Are not these very sweet lines & full of charming images? Evidently written by a man who loved the dear face of Nature'.