Image 2. Title-page, Female Poems...by Ephelia (London, 1679) (Wing P2030;
ESTC R21721). Priced at one shilling (bound), 1679 (Term Catalogue I:350).
Image, above, from the author's copy, purchased from James Cummins-Bookseller, New York City, 1986 (US $650).
The present market value of a well preserved, intact copy, with frontis and in the original boards, would be about US $10,000,
conservatively. In 1982, the Slater Library Ephelia fetched US $1800 at Christie's, NY; the Slater Ephelia is
now preserved at
the Clark Library, UCLA. On 27th May 2004, at Sotheby's, London, the John R. B. Brett-Smith Library copy (slightly stained and
soiled, and in a 19thC binding) brought £3360 (including auction house fee) from a private library.
The Brett-Smith Library auction was a 650-lot sale. The highest sale, £39,600 (including fee), was a bound manuscript volume
(4to, 24 poems, including one poem by Edmund Waller; some 85 pages) by Anne Wharton, a contemporary of the 'Ephelia' poet and
a niece of Lord Rochester. For details on the Brett-Smith Library auction, see Ian McKay's illustrated feature in the
Trade Gazette (3 July 2004: 49-50), with lead photo of this copy's title-page and (fictitious) author portrait. (A
addendum, "Ephelia Revealed," ran in the 24th July issue, p 3; McKay's few factual errors and omissions emanated from
Sotheby's account of the 'Ephelia' debate in its handsome catalogue of the Brett-Smith Library auction, p. 132.) See also
Maureen E. Mulvihill, "Under The Hammer: The Brett-Smith Library Auction," Restoration (Fall 2004), pp 49-50.
The Brett-Smith Ephelia has a distinguished provenance in Sir Edmund Gosse, whose bookplate graces this copy; for comments on
Gosse's book-collecting habits and his library, see Ann Thwaite, Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape (London: Martin
Warburg Ltd., 1984, 1985); see Index, "books, book-collecting," for several locations. Gosse had written about 'Ephelia' as
possibly being a daughter of the poet, Katherine ('Orinda') Philips (Gosse, Seventeenth-Century Studies, 2d ed., 1885).
Drawing special interest over the centuries is the handsomely assembled title-page of Female Poems...by Ephelia (1679),
displays a large and riveting typographical mark, being a calligraphic line device of the elegant cul-de lampe class
Elzevier, mark 203). Reading this page of 'text' against the current Villiers case for Ephelia's authorship in Lady
Villiers, known as 'the Butterfly' of the Stuart court (d'Aulnoy, Mémoires (Paris, 1695), the title-page ornament may
suggest a butterfly flanked by two dueling swords. Such a reading is not fanciful, but rather accords with documented episodes
in the colorful and long life of the book's proposed author: the red-haired, "brisk and jolly" 'Mall' Villiers, later Stuart,
Duchess of Richmond & Lennox (1622-1685). The Baroness Burghclere supplies the tantalizing information of 'Mall's (rumored)
duel with a romantic rival (Villiers , p 140).
Bibliographically, the title-page mark of the 1679 Ephelia was inspired by the broadly imitated Elzevier book
particular ornament would seem to emanate from the Mathys firm of Leiden, which published two books bearing this same mark in
1670, but not thereafter (Mulvihill, ANQ, Summer, 1999; 4 images). Variants of this same 'butterfly' mark were
other books associated with the Stuart inner circle, such as Salmasius's important Defensio Regia (Amsterdam, 1649; see
Appendix G). (One might call the mark 'a Stuart butterfly.')