BESTON, Edward Walter. Peace Prophecies Concerning the End of the War. The Predictions of the "Prophets", With the Author's Comments. May 1917 [cover title]. [colophon:] Birmingham, printed by E. J. Whitehouse … Printer to his Majesty "The King of Albania", .
4to. Teal cloth-backed spine over illustrated boards; pp. [vi], 6-90, ; double-page illustrated leaf; wood-engraved illustrations in the text, text in lilac and black; rubbing to extremities, and marks on front and back boards; discolouration and marks on endpapers; front inner hinge strengthened; sparce foxing and marks throughout; a good copy of this incredibly scarce private publication of end-of-war predictions.
This is book number 268 of a run unknown, with the name of the receiver inscribed as J. Lambour Esq. The text itself is comprised of entries written to the author E. W. Beston predicting the date for the end of the First World War, and includes Beston's own accompanying remarks to each prophecy. After receiving all entries, and after the end date of the war, Beston awarded a prize of £10 10s 0d to the closest guess at the Birmingham Bachelor's club, as illustrated at the end of the text.
The artist featured throughout this volume is Mr. E. C. Mountfort, who 'belongs to the old order of things, and received his early education at the South Kensington School of Art… He was also engaged as the local artist of the London "Graphic," and when the "Daily Graphic" first made its appearance, he was given a position on that paper, continuing to work for both publications' (p. 83). At the end is a list of spoof book publications, among otjher things revealing Beston's obsession with the King of Albania.
'The witty author of this work was a prosperous bookmaker named Ernest Beston who was born in 1874. He purchased the place [Fernwood Grange], later nicknamed “the man in the moon” and over the years he added in the grounds a Switchback railway, and aviary, 13 peacocks,4 Rolls Royce’s and 4 four big St Bernard dogs which he kept in big cages and to the main house he added a Cinema, music room, a Chinese lounge, an Abyssinian boudoir and a Ballroom, so it seemed he had very expensive tastes. Both Mr Ernest W.Beston and his wife known as Mrs E.W.Beston entertained lavishly at Fernwood then for reasons unknown Mrs E.W.Beston disappeared from the scene round about 1916 and another Mrs Beston appeared Daisy Mary “Dulcie” who was an Irish Catholic had been married before and the went on to have five children, all girls.... Betty who in later life became a nun, Joy, Shirley, Sylvia and Valerie. The children grew up never knowing their parents where never married till later in life ( but that is another story) During the late 1920’s Fernwood was sold and the family moved to the continent' (Birmingham History Forum on Fernwood Grange, online).
COPAC locates only two copies, in Birmingham and in the British Library.