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MODERN GOTH
The modern Goth.
[London]: [John Cox], [1796].
[2] p. ; 31.9 cm. (2º)

Drop-head title. An anonymous squib read out by James Wyatt to a meeting of the Architects' Club at the Globe Tavern on 31 May 1796, this light-hearted verse notoriously mocks Soane's innovative use of ornament at the Bank as 'pilasters scor'd like loins of pork'. A second squib titled Inscription for a monument to the memory of Sir William Chambers (q.v.), mourning the destruction of Taylor's work at the Bank during Soane's redevelopment of the site, was passed around the same circle the following July. According to the brief for the prosecution in Soane's case for libel in May 1799 against the surveyor Philip Norris, identified by the printer Cox, Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, as having ordered the printing of both, '[a]bout six weeks' before being apprised by Richard Jupp of the anonymous Inscription for a monument to the memory of Sir William Chambers, Soane had 'received in a blank cover by the Penny Post a printed Copy of the ... Libel Intitled "The Modern Goth-" at the head of this ... paper was written these words, "With the Author's Compliments" ... evidently in a feigned hand'. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.21, fol. 13). Soane's accidental discovery in January 1799 of Cox as the printer and Norris as the 'publisher' (though his authorship could not be attributed) induced him to bring the unsuccessful court case for libel which came before the King's Bench on 17 May 1799. For further details of this painful incident in Soane's career, see A.T. Bolton (ed.), The portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. (London 1927), pp. 59--79; the text of the skit is transcribed on p. 62. See also Gillian Darley, John Soane: an accidental romantic (London 1999), pp. 132--133, 142--143, where however the verses brought to Soane's attention by Jupp in July 1796 are misidentified as the present work rather than the more recently issued Inscription.

Copy Notes Copy 1: Inscribed at head of title [cropped] Authors Compts. Laid down on the verso of the leaf in an album containing a collection of miscellaneous papers and press cuttings relating to Soane and taking its title from the skit. The album, the leaves of which are watermarked 'H SMITH / 1810', was presumably assembled by Joseph Farington, whose ownership inscription in ink Jos: Farington is on the front free-endpaper. The volume corresponds to lot 571 on the second day of Sotheby and Son's sale of Sir Thomas Lawrence's library in June 1830, when it was sold for £6 10s. according to an inscription in the copy of the sale catalogue which is tipped in at the front of the volume (q.v.); however, it is not clear at what point it came into Soane's possession, as it is not recorded among Britton's purchases for Soane at the Lawrence sale. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.7.4). A MS. copy of the skit is bound in to face this printed copy, and it seems probable that this copy of the printed squib - presumably the one anonymously forwarded to Soane - was added to the album by Soane or a curatorial hand after it entered his library. The album additionally contains pasted-in extracts from the Herald, Times, Morning Chronicle and True Briton newspapers reporting the outcome of the libel case (Soane Case 14/7--10). It is not clear whether a loose copy of the satire or the entire album was the item recorded as the 'Modern Goth comforted', found in the second of three repositories containing correspondence, miscellaneous papers and objects which had been sealed by Soane in November 1836 with directions that they should be opened on 22 November (the anniversary of his wife's death) in 1866, 1886 and 1896 respectively.
Copy 2: Laid down on the recto of the leaf facing copy 1. Dated in ink at the head of the title June 1796, and with the names of 'B----*', 'S*u**t', 'D***e' and 'W***t' identified in ink as Birch, Stuart, Dance and Wyatt.

Binding Copy 1: C19th half calf, gilt-ruled and gilt-lettered spine, marbled-paper boards, upper cover with paper label lettered in ink 'The / Modern / Goth'.
Copy 2: C19th half calf, gilt-ruled and gilt-lettered spine, marbled-paper boards, upper cover with paper label lettered in ink 'The / Modern / Goth'.

Reference Number 6830


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