LIBER AMORIS; Or, The New Pygmalion
-Jennie Churchill’s Copy-
Printed for John Hunt by C.H.Reynell [London]
12mo (192 pages)
Hardcover [Full-crimson Morroco leather]
Item Number: 15527
From the Library of Winston Churchill’s mother, a First Edition copy of William Hazlitt’s bizarre, self-justifying apologia for his infatuation with his landlord’s daughters (whom he subsequently married). The delicate bookplate on the front pastedown reads: “Jennie Spencer Churchill,” surrounded by cherubs with their lyre. The vintage full-crimson leather binding, filigreed with gilt florettes in six compartments with raise gilt bands, has darkened with age but is still quite lovely.
JEANETTE (“Jennie”) JEROME (1854-1921) was born in Brooklyn. She married Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill, the third (non-inheriting) son of the Duke of Marlborough, in April 1874. Her relationship to her son Winston was famously “affectionate but distant.” Lord Randolph died in 1896. In July 1900 Lady Randolph married George Frederick Myddelton Cornwallis-West (twenty years her junior). They were divorced in 1918. In June 1918 she married Montagu Phippen Porch (twenty-five years her junior), a colonial official serving in Nigeria. The difference in their ages prompted her famous remark, “He has a future and I have a past, so we should be all right.” Winston Churchill’s personal secretary and friend Edward Marsh described Jennie Churchill as “an incredible and most delightful compound of flagrant wordliness and eternal childhood.”
This book was acquired from the estate of Jennie’s younger son, Jack Churchill.