DAVIES, Scrope Berdmore. Visiting Card.
72 x 37mm gilt edged visiting card "Mr Scrope Davies" pasted onto a printed sheet containing an advertisement for an edition of Byron's Parisina. Tape marks and browning to the verso of the sheet from previous framing, the card itself in very good condition.
From the collection of Bevis Hillier, himself a kinsman of Davies, being descended, via his paternal grandmother, a Davies, from Scrope's brother, the Rev. Thomas Davies.
"In 1976, the Times reported a story of an unusual find in the Barclay Bank’s vaults. Scrope Davies’s leather trunk was identified, and as Davies being a close associate of both Byron and Shelley, the news was pronounced swoon worthy. The trunk’s contents were deposited on loan to the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library, and the papers were bound into twenty-three volumes, two of which consisted entirely of letters and bills from bankers and moneylenders and two of records of bets. Of course, the trunk also held an original manuscript of Canto 3 of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and two previously unknown sonnets (“Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and “Mont Blanc”) by Shelley, the find was termed a major success.
Thus was Scrope Davies, a man in the know in the Byron tempestuous circle. Davies was an inveterate gambler and a prodigal spender. According to tales of the time, he lost between £16,000 and £17,000 in one calendar year. He was known to drink heavily and to womanize freely."
Bevis Hillier, as a distant relation, was given the chance to look at the trunk at an early stage. Barclays also allowed him to write the front-page scoop in the London Times about the find. In acknowledgement of his role in breaking the news to the nation and the family connection, Barclays gave Hillier this visting card from the trunk, which he then made pasted onto the sheet of Parisina.
The sprightly foreword by Bevis Hillier to T. A. J. Burnett's The Rise and Fall of a Regency Dandy. The Life and Times of Scrope Berdmore Davies epitomizes the urbane, irrepressible Scrope: ''a carrier, but not a victim, of the epidemic disease of the early 19th century, the Romantic Agony.''