Symbolic Illustrations of the History of England, drawn from Mary Ann Rundall
St. Sulpice: 1830. Contemporary roan ruled in gilt with title stamped to spine, measuring 145 x 110mm and comprised of 85 manuscript pages. Spreads of hand-drawn illustrations to versos facing autograph text in English on rectos alternated with blank spreads. Loosely inserted manuscript leaf at front. Copied from Mary Ann Rundall's Symbolic Illustrations of the History of England (London, 1815), the present work is beautifully executed and showcases a young woman's talent and interest in British and European history, sparked in large part by the publication of another woman.
Cecile Josephine Leroux (b. 1806) was born in France and emigrated to Kent at an unknown age; UK paris records show that she married Charles Roffe in 1834 before being widowed and taking work as a French teacher and boarding school principal in Berkshire. Leading into her adulthood, she created this lovely copy of the historic emblems and symbols of England. Her illustrations are incredibly precise and her calligraphy beautiful and legible. At the front of her book, she has loosely inserted a copied quotation from the May 7, 1837 Weekly Dispatch regarding Anglicans and Catholics in the UK along with commentary about the unreliability of the research. Given that the ownership inscription at the front notes that it was completed in January at St. Sulpice, it is likely that the piece predates her relocation and may have been done as a school or training exercise.
The illustrations and text originated from the work of Mary Ann Rundall, "an educational writer who kept a school for young ladies at Bath known as the Percy House Seminary...Miss Rundall's chief work was Symbolic Illustrations, a quarto volume with engravings...designed to instruct young persons in history by a means of a system of mnemonics" (DNB).
Marriage Bans of Kent, England. England and Scotland Census 1871, 1881. (Item #5447)