Marriage Rites, Customs, and Ceremonies, of the Nations of the Universe.

  • ['Hamilton, Lady Augusta']
  • London: J. Robins and Co. 1824


SKU: 4201 Category: Tag:


8vo, pp. viii, 400 + engraved frontispiece. Wood-engraved vignette to title-page. Contemporary quarter maroon calf, spine divided by gilt rules, blocked and lettered in gilt, textured cloth boards covered with marbled paper. A little spotting and foxing, mainly to title-page, blank top corner of title-page repaired.


The second edition of this compilation, somewhat fishily attributed to 'Lady Augusta Hamilton' in the first edition of 1822, published by John Bumpus (and while no name appears on the title-page of this printing, the preface is signed 'A.H.'). The absence of a plausible lady of that name in the historical record and the strong resemblance of the title and contents to Theophilus Moore's 'Marriage Customs, Modes of Courtship, and Singular Propensities of the Various Nations of the Universe' (1814, also pub. Bumpus) suggests something of a hack job, and one candidate suggests herself: Olivia Serres, the English painter, novelist, and imposter. Serres is known to have befriended Lady Anne Hamilton, lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline, and used her name to expand a scandalous 1830s account of the royal court started by Lady Anne herself. Identification based on a similar nom-de-plume, adopted a decade earlier for less-than-upfront 'authorship' at a time when Serres was trying to pass herself off as the daughter of the Duke of Cumberland while in debtor's prison, seems tenuous but plausible.

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