# 43904

BELL, Henry Thomas Mackenzie (1856-1930)

Mackenzie Bell, poet : signed autograph manuscript of his poem “The Philosophy of Frequent Failure”.

$500.00 AUD

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Manuscript in ink on the recto of a quarto sheet (225 x 175 mm), written in the poet’s flamboyant, idiosyncratic hand, comprising the full text of his poem The Philosophy of Frequent Failure, signed at the foot Mackenzie Bell, and with the word ‘Poet’ written in the hand of Jane Emma Murphy (see below); laid down on the recto of a nineteenth-century album leaf of thin card; well preserved. Note: there are a couple of minor differences between this version and the published version as it appeared in Bell’s Pictures of Travel and other poems (1898).

A desirable literary memento of Mackenzie Bell (1856-1930): poet and literary critic, traveller, close friend and biographer of Christina Rossetti, and biographer of Swinburne and Charles Whitehead.

Provenance: Autograph album compiled by Jane Emma Murphy (Balcombe) (1854-1924), “The Briars,” Mornington, Victoria (Australia); à Beckett family, Melbourne (by descent). Jane Murphy was a wealthy Melbourne philanthropist with a keen interest in the arts; she visited England in 1902. The fact that Bell wrote a biography of Charles Whitehead – Charles Whitehead: a Forgotten Genius (1894) – a poet who spent his last years in Australia and died a pauper in Melbourne in 1862, suggests that Jane Murphy would have had an interest in arranging a meeting with Bell. Her personal albums contained the autographs and ms. notes of numerous artists, musicians and writers of the late nineteenth century, many of them probably obtained during her time in England.