Genoa. Her History as Written in her Buildings (1st edition + unique letter)
Princess Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, became Empress Frederick of Germany for three short months in 1888, when her husband became Emperor, but died soon afterwards. Known thereafter as Empress Frederick, she passed the final 15 or so years of her life in relative seclusion, but evidently in 1893 made a visit to Genoa in Italy. To mark the occasion, a Genoan banker, Edward Algernon Le Mesurier presented her with a bound copy of a series of five lectures he had given some years earlier on the town, its history and architecture. This book is still available in both facsimile and modern paperback editions, but an original from 1889 is extremely rare.
Edward Algernon Le Mesurier (1839-1903) is known only to have been a banker in the city of Genoa, where he was born, lived and died.
Our book is an original 1889 copy published by A. Donath, Genoa, bound in maroon cloth with gilt title and St George medallion on the front, and gilt lettering on the spine (somewhat faded) on a slightly different coloured piece of cloth pasted to the main cover. The exterior is in very good general condition - corners lightly bumped, a few 'bubbles' to the cloth - and page tops are dark. Inside, the binding is tight with no loose pages. There is foxing to a number of the outer pages of the textblock (front and back), but only occasional spots in the body of the book, which is otherwise clean and bright. Rear fep, torn, is pasted neatly to a sheet of tissue taped in place (see photo). Blue printer's label at bottom of rear pastedown. An ex libris in the name of Ernest J. Enthoven, himself the publisher of a seminal book on Sir Christopher Wren, is pasted inside the front cover. At the back of the book is a folding map of the city of Genoa, sadly torn down one half-fold, but otherwise intact. Also pasted to the following page is an ink-written letter, dated 1893 addressed to Algernon Le Mesurier from the German Consulate in Genoa, thanking him, on behalf of the Empress, for his consideration in presenting the book. This surely means that this volume is a collector's dream.