Book of the Month – Roscoe’s Wanderings

Posted by Tenby Museum on Aug 6, 2018 Blog No Comments

This month’s Book of the Month blog features a book that speaks to my wanderlust and desire to get away!

Roscoe’s Wanderings in South Wales

by Thomas Roscoe Esq.

Published in 1837

 Volume Two of a two volume set covering North (Vol I) & South Wales (Vol II).

The volumes are a descriptive travelogue and spiritual journey through North and South Wales (including the course of the River Wye), written in the first half of the 19th Century.  It is considered an important historical work and Queen Victoria presented a copy to her mother in 1844.

The inside title page reads –

                  Wanderings and Excursions in South Wales: with the scenery of the River Wye.

                  By Thomas Roscoe, Esq.

  With fifty engravings, from drawings by Harding, Fielding, Cox, Creswick, and  Cattermole, and an accurate map.

                   London: Tilt and Bogue; Simpkin and Co; and Orr and Co.

                  Wright and Webb, Birmingham: Webb, Liverpool. Simms and Dinham, Manchester.

The volume is a full leather bound hardcover in red morocco measuring 22.5 x 4.5cm. A First Edition was published in 1837. The half-calf binding has marbled boards, there is wear to the spine and corners and small scratches to the surface of the spine, but inside the pages are in good condition, with only slight spotting due to its age.

There are 287 pages with 50 leaves of black and white plates (a coloured map of Wales folds out to show the borders of the counties). the book also includes an index on pages 285-286.

Thomas Roscoe was born in Liverpool in 1791, the fifth son of William Roscoe who was an English historian, art collector, M.P. (briefly), lawyer, banker, botanist and miscellaneous writer, perhaps best known today as an early abolitionist and for his children’s poem The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast.

Thomas was educated by Dr W Shepherd and by Mr Lloyd, a private tutor.

Soon after his father’s financial troubles in 1816, which led to bankruptcy, the 25 year old Thomas began to write in local magazines and journals and he continued with this to make literature his profession.

Thomas married Elizabeth Edwards and they had seven children.

In 1871, after a prolific writing career, he died in London at age 80.

As well as Wanderings in South Wales, Thomas Roscoe’s other major original works were:

  • Gonzalo, the Traitor: a Tragedy, 1820.
  • The Tourist in Switzerland and Italy, 1830; the first volume of the Landscape Annual, followed for eight years by similar volumes on Italy, France, and Spain.
  • The London and Birmingham Railway, 1839 with illustrations from George Dodgson, William Radclyffe, Edward Radclyffe and others
  • Book of the Grand Junction Railway, 1839 (the last two were issued together as the Illustrated History of the London and North-Western Railway).
  • Legends of Venice, 1841.
  • Belgium in a Picturesque Tour, 1841.
  • A Summer Tour in the Isle of Wight, 1843.
  • Life of William the Conqueror, 1846.
  • The Last of the Abencerages, and other Poems, 1850.
  • The Fall of Granada.

Roscoe’s translations were:

  • The Memoirsof Benvenuto Cellini, 1822.
  • Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi, Literature of the South of Europe, 1823, 4 vols. Roscoe’s annotations helped make the work popular.
  • Italian Novelists, 1825, 4 vols.
  • German Novelists, 1826, 4 vols.
  • Spanish Novelists, 1832, 3 vols.
  • Louis Joseph Antoine de Potter, Memoirs of Scipio de Ricci, 1828, 2 vols.
  • Luigi Lanzi, History of Painting in Italy, 1828, 6 vols.
  • Silvio Pellico, Imprisonments, 1833.
  • Pellico, Duties of Men, 1834.
  • Martín Fernández de Navarrete, Life of Cervantes, 1839 (in Murray’s Family Library).
  • Johann Georg Kohl, Travels in England, 1845.

Roscoe edited The Juvenile Keepsake, 1828–30; The Novelists’ Library, with Biographical and Critical Notices, 1831–3, 17 vols; the works of Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, and Jonathan Swift (1840–9, 3 vols), and new issues of his father’s Lorenzo de’ Medici and Leo the Tenth.