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Air Chiswick entertained the press
but three years, on this removal, and then the quiet old place on the suburban river-bank was fi
nally abandoned. Nephew Charles had succeeded in purchasing the freehold of his former premises in Took's Court, and there, in January, 1852, he returned with all the impedimenta of his “art and mystery,” and there the Chiswick Press abides to this day.
Between Sylvain Van der Weyer, the Belgian minister at the Court of St. James, and Nephew Whittingham there was a feeling of cordial respect. The two men were often brought together in consultation. Van der Weyer was a connoisseur whose judgment was highly valued in the book world. He had served with Whittingham on the printing jury at the Great Exhibition. He had married the daughter of Joshua Bates, who was the American partner in London of Baring's bank, and practically the founder of the Boston Public Library. Mrs. Van der Weyer, by reason of her own charms of character and person, not less than by her husband's eminence in diplomatic circles, was, until her death, honored by the close friendship of Queen Victoria, who reposed in her the utmost confidence, and who, it is thought, was greatly influenced by her during the American Civil War, when her Majesty's personal influence did so much to prevent England's recognition of the Confederacy. Van der Weyer was a member of the Philobiblon Society. Whittingham was the Society's printer.
The Philobiblon was a small and select body which came into being in 1854. It was "composed of persons interested in the collection and peculiarities of old books." There were some thirty-five of these associated enthusiasts, and the chief result of their joint endeavor seems to have been the issue of a volume of biographical miscellanies once or twice in a twelvemonth. The first patron of the society was His Royal Highness Prince Albert, the Queen's Consort. The earliest members were the Duc d'Aumale, the Earl of Powis, the Earl of Dufferin, Richard Monckton Milnes, afterward Lord Houghton, Sylvain Van der Weyer, Octave Delapierre (the Belgian Consul), Thomas Erskine Perry, John Murray, Thomas Longman, R. S. Holford, Edward Cheney, Evelyn P. Shirley, and the Rev. Walter Sneyd. Lord Acton, Lord Taunton, Peter Cunningham, Henry G. Bohn, Dean Milman, Sir Charles Eastlake (President of the Royal Academy), the Honorable Robert Curzon, and the Honorable T. E. Stonor were among the wellknown men who joined soon after the society was started.
The Philobiblon lasted for a quarter of a century, and was then dissolved. Some of the members came to Took's Court for printing on their own account, and for extra copies of their respective Philobiblon papers.
I find an account for fifty copies of a small quarto called · Jean, Roi de France," printed on the 17th of March, 1850, for the Duc d'Aumale, who was then living at Twickenham; and in 1856, for the same notability, one hundred copies of a crown octavo entitled “Notes et Documents.” To the account of Richard Monckton Milnes, 16 Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, there is charged, in 1850, a small quarto volume called " Fairfax on Witches,” of which twelve copies were made, eight being on laid paper, two on tinted paper, and two on vellum. In 1856 Milnes ordered a crown octavo called, in the printer's account, Monument for Scutari,” of which he took one hundred copies, as well as seventy-six copies of “Boswelliana.” In 1858 his account shows fifty copies of “ From the Grange,” an octavo, and thirty copies of a double post octavo containing papers “On the Apology for the Massacre of St. Bartholomew," "A Funeral Oration,” and Keats' “Hyperion,” of which collection twenty copies were printed on laid paper, five on tinted paper, and five on vellum.
For Octave Delapierre there were printed, between 1856 and 1859, a few copies of little books written or compiled by himself. The Chevalier de Chatelain, who was residing at 27 Grafton Place, Euston Square, had, in 1853, a small edition of Gay’s “ Fables in French and English "; during the next year five hundred copies of “ La Fleur et la Feuille”; in 1856, three hundred of “Les Moins de Kilcrae”; and, in 1857, two hundred and fifty copies of a two-volume edition of “Les Contes de Cantorbery,” with a portrait of Chaucer. In 1859, the year in which Longman ordered an edition of Rogers' “ Recollections, the Chevalier had many copies of a book called “Cleomades.” Lord Vernon had five hundred copies of an imperial quarto edition of Dante's “Inferno." This was in 1854. A year later he had a smaller number of the “ Paradiso,” and in 1855 of the “ Purgatorio.”