An aristocratic gift

In 1859 John Etherington Welch Rolls gave his son-in-law, John Taylor Harding, a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, published in 1844 by the Chiswick Press.  

John E.W. Rolls became the High Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1842 and lived at the family home, The Hendre, a fine Victorian Mansion.  His son John Allan Rolls, an MP, became Baron Llangattock of the Hendre in 1892; meanwhile his daughter Patricia (Patty) Rolls married John Harding of Pentwyn on 25th June 1857; he was a vicar of Rockfield (Monmouthshire), and canon of Llandaff. 

Apart from turning The Hendre into “…the grandest and most important Victorian park and garden in Monmouthshire”. [Elisabeth Whittle, Welsh Historic Gardens Trust: Bulletin Autumn 2003], the Rolls family are also known for the exploits of Charles Stewart Rolls (Patty’s nephew) who co-founded Rolls-Royce, was a keen balloonist, and has the unfortunate accolade of being the first person to be killed in an aviation accident (in 1910).

This Chiswick ‘Book of common prayer’ was one of a set of seven editions of different historical versions, ranging from Edward VI, 1549 up to the ‘modern’ Victoria edition of 1844.  It was done for the publisher,William Pickering of London, by Charles Whittingham the younger at the Chiswick Press. It is bound in vellum, with gold tooling and dark morocco labels on the spine.

The inscription to John Taylor Harding from his father-in-law has been done in decorative lettering in red and black ink, to tie in with the design of the text inside.

In addition, inserted into the book is a hand made bookmark; made of pink satin with a cross stitch pattern on a card base (in the shape of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper), saying “Watch and pray”.  Made by Patty perhaps?


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