St John's College MS O.87

George Henry Sawtell, A perambulation of the Universitie and towne of Cambridge. English, 1843-7.


Sawtell's preface to the reader is dated 1847 from 23 John Street, Bedford Row, London, and begins, 'These sheets were written, nearly five years ago, for the information of a young lady visiting Cambridge for the first time. They are not compiled from books but embody the writer's recollections of one or two previous visits to the University.' The text is embellished with handsome painted coats of arms of the colleges and of various alumni, which the preface explains were undertaken by Sawtell. A number of pages of grey paper are interspersed through the volume and the preface explains that it was intended that these 'should be filled with drawings by the receiver'. A few of them carry some nice pencil sketches. The recipient of the book was Sarah Sabin, who married Sawtell in 1847. The manuscript is not in a completely finished state - some decorative initials are missing and a few of the arms incomplete. The volume opens with a list of contents and a list of the coats of arms.

Manuscript extra information

185 x 115mm. xvi, 135 p. Paper with double-ruled border in red ink. Sawtell's elegant hand throughout, with a few pencil annotations. Elegant 19th-century binding of gold-tooled red leather, rebacked by the Cambridge Binding Guild in 1939; blue silk endpapers; all edges gilt; gilt lettering on spine reads 'Grania'.

Sarah Sawtell's signature appears on the front flyleaf with the date 13 May 1843. Beneath this is the inscription 'Lewis T. Dibdin e Coll. div. John Bapt. In remembrance of S.S. who died 6th Sept. 1887 and in fulfilment of her wish.' The manuscript was given to St John's College by L.G. Dibdin at the wish of his father, Lewis Tonna Dibdin (1852-1938) honorary fellow of the college, in Nov. 1938 (note in the hand of H.P.W. Gatty on flyleaf). College bookplate dated 1937 inside front board.