# 32756

RAE, John (1813 - 1900)

Gleanings from my scrap-book (presentation copy)

$660.00 AUD

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Third series. Sydney : Printed by the Author, 1874. Octavo, half-crushed morocco over marbled papered boards, spine in compartments lettered in gilt, edges dyed red, presentation inscription to preliminary blank to Joseph James Phelps, Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly ‘J. J. Phelps Esq. M. P. with the author’s compliment 2 August 1875’, double page lithographed view of the Ball, pp. [vi]; viii; 96, scattered foxing, else very good.

John Rae was a Scottish born public servant, author and painter, who emigrated to Australia in 1839. ‘While town clerk he wrote a long ‘serio-comic’ poem about the first mayoral fancy dress ball, given by J. R. Wilshire.’ (ADB). It was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald, April 1845. Rae’s memoirs were self-published in 1869 with this Third Series issued in 1874. All were had printed by the author on a small Albion Press ‘in my leisure hours, by the midnight lamp, to study the mysteries of the art of printing’ (Prolegomena). The frontispiece is ‘a reduced photo-lithographed copy of Nicholas’ picture of the Ball. It is a clever sketch, by a clever, but neglected artist, whom some of our old colonists will remember, as a miniature-painter, for many years, in Sydney’. This refers to William Nicholas (c. 1807 – 1854), noted society portraitist of the time. The Ball was apparently quite an event, ‘It was a gorgeous spectacle; and, unless we had been present, we could not have conceived it possible for Sydney, in its present condition, to have brought together such a vast variety of costly and magnificent dresses, and costumes of all nations, as greeted our eyes on the present occasion.’ – Rae.