PHILLIPS (Watts, 1825-1874, Illustrator, Playwright and Novelist, best known for his play 'The Dead Heart' which served as a model for Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.)

Enchanting series of Illustrated Letters to William Miller ORD, M.D., (1834-1902, Medical Scientist and Physician, for fifty years at St Thomas's Hospital, London), to Ord's second wife Jane, (née Youl), the Ords's daughter Christine and dog Tartar, with one or two by Caroline (Huskisson), known as Mrs Phillips, also humorous drawings and a title leaf for "Jane Ord's Album", the letters are full of energy, puns and literary allusions, nearly all with one or more extremely skilful and witty pen-drawings. Besides Phillips's own troubles, for Ord's care of which he is extremely grateful, Phillips refers to invitations to the Ords's home in Streatham, imagines their holidays in Northumberland and Swanage, adding his reminiscences of both districts, and talks of the pressure of keeping up his writing (see No. 38, showing him chained to an inkpot like Prometheus to his rock), with much more. With a Checklist. Together 58 items on 99 sides (including 4½ sides by Mrs Caroline Phillips), mostly 8vo, 45 Redcliffe Road (off the Fulham Road), West Brompton, London, 16th January - 31st December 1873 and circa February - April

Watts Phillips began as an actor. He was then apprenticed to George Cruikshank (1792-1878), his lifelong friend, and who here comes to breakfast (see Nos. 8 and 10). Phillips studied art in Paris, and returned to work there, mainly as an illustrator. Separated from his wife, he met Caroline Huskisson, who became known as 'Mrs Phillips'. In a curious incident, it was claimed that Phillips's play The Dead Heart plagiarized A Tale of Two Cities, but it was proved that Dickens had been at a reading of the play in manuscript. (They were reconciled in 1865). In 1866 Phillips and Caroline returned to England. Of their four children, (May) Roland Watts-Phillips became an actress.
Dr William Ord, besides St Thomas's, had consulting rooms at 11 Brook Street, off New Bond Street (see Nos. 23 and 41). He became eminent from his lectures and as an authority on thyroid. There are many references here to his skill with the microscope and his passion for collecting fossils and plants. He, Jane Ord and Caroline took Phillips's adoration of Jane in good part and the families were good friends.

CHECKLIST
(Letters are from Watts Phillips to Dr William Ord, unless stated otherwise)

DATED (some approximately)
1. 16th January 1873. Self-portrait at work, seated on an egg, whisky on the table. A cock complaining to a hen about Phillips's six eggs a day.
First side only 8vo.
2. 27th March 1873. Parody of Hood's The Song of the Shirt. Phillips at a treadmill. "I am very much better, but I really wanted to see you, to take a healthy tonic from the friendly grasp of your hand, and a mental inspiration from the jolly tone of your voice ... I can't shake off that sluggard sleep ...". A conundrum for Mrs Ord on William's name. Mrs Phillips "is far from well ... biling over in fact!".
3 sides 8vo.
3. ?circa March 1873. 'Very unhappy!' Tartar sad, three-quarter face. "What are the red coals saying? Why, that they've gone up 2s/- a ton ...". (Compare No. 55 dated 18th March, below).
1 side 8vo.
4. ?April 1873. The Tichborne Claimant as a spinning top. "Not a leg to Stand on!". ?At the opening of the case against Arthur Orton for perjury. 1 side 8vo.
5. 1st May 1873. Head of a clown. Has been called to Birmingham ... about his play Amos Clarke "which Mr [George] Rignold is taking about the country ... I am under bond to write a new piece ... and sit on the points of my own jokes! ... I shall inflict myself on you next Saturday ... The best fence against Care is a ha! ha!". Drawing of the Doctor (from behind) wresting secrets from nature.
3 sides 8vo.
6. 7th June 1873. The sad case of a boy suicide, "vexed at the imperfect fitting of a new suit of clothes", with a newspaper clipping.
First side only 8vo.
7. circa June 1873. Phillips to Christine Ord. A friendly giant handing Phillips's letter to Christine. Phillips bowling the world with his pen. He sends her a book on giants and fairies, the same as he had given her sister, "To look over them in her own pretty way and talk of them in her own sweet fashion!" 2 sides 8vo.
8. circa June 1873. Mrs Phillips to Mrs Ord. Christine's letter "has been an immense success ... 'The person who drawed the book - and who is the best drawer who ever lived' was taking breakfast with us when her letter arrived. He begs me to give her George Cruikshank's love ... With many many kisses from the man with the funny face and the big eyes and our united regards ... As Christine would say - 'These pens are the worstest I've ever writ with'".
3 sides 8vo.
9. 30th June 1873. Phillips with two figures (one labelled 'Acid') preventing him working. Phillips astride a bicycle, speeding to the Doctor. Three feathers in a wine-glass. "[The Prince of] Wales and the Shah are still going it" [e.g. since the Wales's déjeuner in the garden at Chiswick House on 28th June]. 2 sides 8vo.
10. 1st July 1873. Coming out of a cold shower-bath. Will see the Ords on Friday 4th July before they go North, and asking the Doctor to get a new portrait photograph taken. Has "lots of Giants growing up" for Christine, and wants her to take tea with "my dear old child-hearted 'Crooked-shanks'". More on Chiswick - apparently Ord was at the Garden Party.
3 sides 8vo.

The Ords in Northumberland:
11. 12th July 1873. The Doctor pulling Jane up a steep hillside, "one day scaling an eagle's nest, the next diving into the depths of a coal mine ... while she brightens all the darkness around by her presence". A game of Chevy Chase. "Have you been to the top of Yeavering Bell?" (shown, as Caroline believes it to be, as a ship's bell). Hogg & Sir Walter Scott. "How I envy you!". Tailpiece of the Doctor, with his trousers and hat drying on his walking stick.
4 sides 8vo.
12. 12th July 1873. Cupid photographing, from behind, the Doctor giving a lecture at St Thomas's. Asks Mrs Ord to check portrait photos of the Doctor "against the original ... The profile, when the face is made lightless, is admirable ... please to remark the Philadelphian Flash!" (Compare No. 22, 15th August 1873, below).
1 side 8vo.
13. 16th July 1873. Three drawings of the Doctor as collector, one arm-in-arm with a frog, soon to be "under the microscope".
2 sides 8vo.

The Ords in Dorset:
14. circa July 1873. Mrs Sarah Gamp "looking towards" the Doctor's "microscopic eye". Jokes about the fossils in Dorset. Nine drawings of nature getting the better of the Doctor.
2 sides 8vo.
15. circa July 1873, headed 'Swanage'. A local having his portrait taken "in stile". The Doctor arm-in-arm with Sundew and Bogweed.
Last 2 sides only 8vo.
16. 23rd July 1873. The Doctor on board a rolling yacht "off Old Harry" (the rocks near Swanage), with a long monologue about the effects of the sea (which in fact Phillips enjoys). London is baking hot. A footman: "What I want is Sea-h'air! ... If the Family dont take me out of town soon, I go without them. I must have Iodine!". Phillips is "inclined to take off my flesh and sit in my bones ...". Mrs Phillips is "like a salmon on a gravel path".
6 sides 8vo.

The Ords back home:
17. 1st August 1873. Phillips shoulder to shoulder with a cheerful 'Bismuth'. "The relief from the pain was almost instantaneous ... and the return of something like strength and good spirits ...".
1 side 8vo.
18. 11th August 1873. "The Knave of Spades", his head a skull. "If you go to Dr Ord I give you up! ...".
1 side 8vo.
19. 15th August 1873. "Just a line of gratitude ... despite the warning conveyed on the back of this, I sit 'milking' myself from morning to night".
1 side 8vo.
20. ?August 1873. Deadly milkman carrying buckets of 'Typhoid' and 'Scarlet [Fever]'. Some staining on left side of drawing.
1 side 8vo.
21. ?August 1873. Two countrymen gazing at The Red Cow inn sign. "Lunnon Doctors say he has gotten the scarlet fever!".
1 side 8vo.
22. 15th August 1873. Phillips to Mrs Ord, sending her "the enclosed [not present] for some of your friends" and warning her not to cause the Doctor's patients to "die of disease of the heart" by going past his consulting rooms. "It was quite a Philadelphian flash!". Cupid felled by the sight of her. (Compare No. 15, 12th July 1873, above).
1 side 8vo.
23. 16th August 1873. A bird "up from the country" standing at the door of No. 11 Brook Street. Phillips sends the Doctor some game. "I went out with a gun once ...".
1 side 8vo.
24. 19th August 1873. Phillips to Mrs Ord. Cupid on a bicycle, Christine and her doll, the world as Jane's footstool.
1 side 8vo.
25. 12th September 1873. "I wish you had stayed with us [at the theatre] a little longer ... last night ... the lovely author was roared for again ... W.P. was in his bed under every description of torture ... Would you like the enclosed for Drury Lane?".
1 side 8vo.
26. 29th September 1873. Phillips and Caroline facing each other across a table, each with pen and paper, saying respectively "It's the Chablis" "It's the Cider", taken to help them work but with bad effect, cold coffee was even worse. An Egyptian waking up with a furry tongue after cold coffee at night. "What ought to be the effect ... ?".
3 sides 8vo.
27. 23rd October 1873. Phillips to Mrs Ord. A Cupid baker drops a heart which breaks on the ground. Another bastes a heart on a spit. "Nothing but a most severe and sudden attack" prevented him seeing her "last Tuesday". If the Doctor can visit they can discuss "the momentous question of the Album". (See No. 58, below).
1 side 8vo.
28. circa November 1873, 'Saturday midnight'. Phillips to Mrs Ord. The Cupid baker has dropped and broken a second heart. "Here we are safe at home" after visiting the Ords. A heart-shaped coach driven by a Cupid.
1 side 8vo.
29. ?November 1873. Phillips to Mrs Ord. Cupid sitting on the ground with broken heart pieces. Proposes to return "the umbrella you so kindly lent Mrs Phillips" on Monday or Tuesday.
1 side 8vo.
30. ?November 1873. "The Loan of an Umbrella". Mrs Phillips with the umbrella, from behind. Other umbrellas looking at the new arrival in the Phillips's umbrella stand.
1 side 8vo.
31. ?November 1873. "The Return of the Umbrella". "Please 'um Missus has sent back the 'numbrella and if you'd please get it looked at as she wants it again next week". The Umbrella tells the Doctor its symptoms.
1 side 8vo.
32. 12th December 1873. Phillips's head as an owl on an inkstand, suffering from the cold weather, and quoting Keats. "I hate Ross! I hate Parry! ... Last night I dreamt that you had found out the North Pole was crooked and were trying to straighten ... it out with plaisters ... the children existing on - blubber", followed by a vivid account of his pains in the night. With a letter at the end from Mrs Phillips to the Doctor. "Watts has again left me out in the cold. Please let me send a warm greeting ... though only wrapped up in paper".
4 sides 8vo.
33. circa December 1873. Phillips peering through a window half obscured by snow. Man with a broom, three 'scrapers' digging at the front door. Not well and will take his chance on seeing the Doctor "tomorrow".
2 sides 8vo.
34. 22nd December 1873. Phillips to Tartar. Tartar seated having his photograph taken. Tartar catching someone's trousers. Phillips talks of ugly mugs though "your ugliness, like with Mirabeau, covers a great soul", and sends Tartar's framed and glazed portrait [not present] for Christmas.
2 sides 8vo.
35. 31st December 1873. Eight stages of going to sleep and waking up with painful toes, ending with Phillips in coat and hat but with 'crooked shanks'. "The opium pills I adore" but not the belladonna. The pains and sleepiness in the day are stopping his "brain-work" and he asks the Doctor to add a line "to the enclosed prescription". Otherwise his general health is good.
2 sides 8vo.
36. 'Saturday', ?circa February 1874. Phillips full face, and, below, his painful hand. The medicine "I have christened 'Flare-up!' leaves me dull with a headache, the other ... 'Brains!' finds me and leaves me destitute of that article". "I am a liberal, but oh! how I rejoice that the Parish Vestry is thrown out", apparently Gladstone's ministry following the general election. "Is it true ... that Bright is to appear in the Divorce Court 'a-cos' of Mrs Gladstone?", with a shadowy figure (?a detective) following an elderly woman.
2 sides 8vo.
37. circa April 1874. 'Portrait Miniature' of Phillips aged 6 with bucket and spade by the sea. His silhouette head. Pun on 'executed'. The face of Moses. His own efforts (like the Tichborne Claimant's) to secure his 'title', with a clipping saying that H.J. Byron's 'Blackmail' (a title already assigned to a play of Phillips's, not yet produced) has been renamed 'The Thumbscrew' (which opened 4th April 1874). Lunch with theatre colleagues but couldn't eat. Describes Mark Twain's 'How I edited a paper' which if cut down "would come well into a Reading ... Oh! the value of a laugh". Small nick at top of first fold, touching a few letters.
6 sides 8vo.

UNDATED
38. Phillips chained to an ink-well like Prometheus to a rock. Phillips impaled on a quill pen. Will take his chance coming on Tuesday.
1 side 8vo.
39. 'Tuesday morning'. Phillips climbing a pen. Phillips head first into an ink-well. "Today I am confined to home, compelled to climb the greasy pen ... Tomorrow I shall have the pleasure of seeing you ...".
2 sides 8vo.
40. An 'Uncle Sam' hints that the Doctor is not "perlite". "I begin to think you can't write - and! Why should you when you've already made your mark. Yours affectionately ...".
Last side only 8vo.
41. 'Friday morning'. Phillips with his feet in a mustard bath. "The Cataract of the Ganges ... is a simple rill compared with my cold". "Some times the 'Ayes', some times the 'Noes' have it". Mentions "my dear grandfather - who died in Australia after a voyage ... to correct an error ... in his handwriting". As to any forthcoming 'debt to Nature', he looks "at No. 11 Brook Street as a sort of Bankruptcy Court ... for I never cross the threshold but I take the benefit of the Act". He suggests various remedies for a cold, such as Edward II's end.
4 sides 8vo.
42. 'Thursday evening'. Phillips chained to his writing table, "penned in", talking to Ariel. Tell Prospero "the foul fiend still follows me at times", listing the symptoms, but otherwise "I have had a clearer head ... than for months past", and inviting the Doctor for next Sunday.
2 sides 8vo.
43. Phillips in bed staring at his feet. "God bless you! But dont dont forget to carry my legs about you and study them in toetoe".
2 sides 8vo.
44. 'Sunday evening'. A footman looking at an advertisement for cream to cure Bad Legs. "My legs are better despite the exertion I put them to yesterday".
First side only 8vo.
45. Phillips's fist. A Cupid at Mrs Ord's foot. "Why do you come and vanish? ... A word in advance - but one - would have made me break my engagement and fixed me 'at home'. And Mrs Ord too!".
1 side 8vo.
46. 'A Dream of St Thomas's Hospital'. Spectral figure asking for his kidneys back.
1 side 8vo.
47. A ferocious fish. "What is this devil? We found two on the shore this morning about 3 or 4 feet long. All head - Such a mouth and in it fish the brute had bolted. Two long pricks on his brow ... Flappers not fins - not a porpoise".
1 side oblong 8vo.
48. Mrs Phillips to Doctor Ord. "My love to Mrs Ord!". Drawing apparently by Watts of a Cupid butcher's boy calling at the house. "The only malady the Doctor cannot cure".
Last side only 8vo.
49. 'Science at Streatham (an Imaginary Sketch)'. Mother with daughter at her knee, father in the far room with his microscope. Daughter is pleased that 'Baby' is too big to be so examined, with a pin in its back.
1 side 8vo.
50. 'St Thomas's Hospitality'. Doctor with microscope examines a woman's kidneys, which she wants back 'in a few minutes'.
1 side 8vo.
51. 'Scene - A Railway Platform'. Elderly member of household to Mary Jane. "Where have you been? Your Ma's in such a state of Constipation about you!".
1 side 8vo.
52. 'Chacun a son gout' on dark red paper. Gouty gentleman reads "Relation to Uric Acid! Egad!", not a "poor relation" or he would have shown it "the door".
1 side short 8vo.

SMALLER DRAWINGS
53. 'Shell-out!' A chicken emerging from an egg on an egg-cup.
1½" x 1½".
54. 'Miss Tartar'. A dog's head in a lady's bowler hat with feather.
3½" x 4½".

LARGER DRAWINGS
55. 18th March, ?1873. Tartar gazing at the fire, where the flames take on the shape of cats.
1 side 8¼" x 5¼".
56. ? July 1873. 'A cool request'. A gentleman bather passes his hands up the entrance of a folding passage-way leading from a bathing-machine to the water, asking to borrow "a piece of soap".
1 side card 10" x 7".
57. 'The Impatient Patient's Happy Day - What Came of it'. 17 vignette drawings, starting with Phillips as the patient "who didn't know he was comfortable", seated with feet in a mustard bath between jars of 'Pills as before' and 'Pills as behind', then waking up one morning and deciding he is cured. He gives 'Mixture' a piece of his mind, visits his friends and gets invited to dinner but is overcome by eating salmon. Getting home he makes it up with 'Mixture' and next morning is knocking on Ord's consulting rooms door.
1 side card 10" x 7".
58. 'Jane Ord's Album'. Most elaborate and skilful title design, showing Jane leaning down over a balcony towards a mournful Watts Phillips serenading her on a lute. Cupids, hearts, arrows (including two for the 'A' of 'Jane') are everywhere, some Cupids gazing at hearts in cages, others looking for them in a waste basket, and one sweeping up the remains of yet more. (See No. 27, 18th October 1873, above).
1 side 8¾" x 9¾".


Item Date:  1874

Stock No:  56645      £17500

             Order/Enquire


PHILLIPS-56645-1.jpg PHILLIPS-56645-2.jpg
PHILLIPS-56645-3.jpg PHILLIPS-56645-4.jpg

<< Back

HyperLink      HyperLink      ABOUT SOPHIE   |   CONTACT SOPHIE   |   TERMS & CONDITIONS     
      HyperLink