Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature B (Delaware Museum, author's first proofs)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Wittingham and Co.
City of publication: London
Date of publication: 1881 April 5
Pre-Publication Information: proof
Pagination: [1-3], 4-16
Issue: 1
Authorization: DGR
Collation: B 8


Current Location: Library, Delaware Art Museum

Physical Description

Point: 10 point; 6 point leading
Font: roman
Lines per Page: 17
Margin top: 2 cm
Margin bottom: 3.8 cm
Margin right: 2 cm
Margin left: 2.5 cm
Dimensions of Document: 19 x 12.8cm (crown octavo)

Scholarly Commentary


This is a complete set of proofs for Signature B, the earliest of the extant proofs for this signature. The pages on the conjugate leaves B 5 and B 6 are separated, but all the other pages are intact. The proofs carry the printer's date stamp 5 April 81 on the first page as well as the handwritten number 1 in the upper left corner. DGR's corrections on every page except 1, 2, and 15.

These are the proofs for this signature sent for correction to DGR. Another author's set of this signature is gathered in the composite group of proofs housed in the British Museum. The latter set was the first that DGR sent back to the printer. It is marked for correction as the present set, except that it does not have the correction at line 39, which —as DGR's note on page 5 shows—was made later and conveyed to the printer separately. DGR must have kept the present set himself and returned the set in the British Library for the revised printing. This analysis seems confirmed by the imperfect printer's revise set that is date stamped 7 April. The latter prints all but one of the corrections DGR called for in this set of proofs. It also notes a pair of other corrections that DGR missed (for lines 105 and 125). This printer's revise marks line 39 for correction, a fact which indicates that DGR made this correction later and separately, and then noted the late correction on page 5 of this set of the proofs, which he would have retained for his own reference.

Textual History: Revision

The library of the Delaware Art Museum has six distinct sets of proofs for this signature, each but the last numbered and all date stamped by the printer Charles Wittingham, of Chiswick Press. In addition to these author's proofs, the other sets at Delaware are: the first printer's revise (numbered 2; imperfect, dated 7 April); the second printer's revise (numbered 4; perfect, dated 14 April); the third printer's revise (numbered 5; imperfect, dated 22 April); second printer's revise (WMR's copy, with his notes and corrections) (numbered 5; perfect, dated 22 April); and what appears to be the final proof (unnumbered; perfect, dated 21 May). The Delaware library also has a fragment (pages 9-10) of what must have once been a complete second copy of the first revise proof. As already noted, the British Library has a duplicate set of the 5 April author's proofs with corrections.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1