John Brett. Portrait of Christina Rossetti. 1857.
The Bijou

The Bijou;

or Annual of Literature and the Arts

compiled by William Fraser

London: William Pickering,


pp. pp. v-ix
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[by William Fraser]

The few observations which are necessary to be prefixed to this volume, will contain little more than acknowledgements to the distinguished literary characters, and eminent artists whose respective productions adorn its pages; as it is on those productions the Publisher rests his hopes that it will be deemed entitled to an elevated station among the Annual publications, not of this country only, but of Europe.  Far from wishing, however, to institute invidious comparisons, he only assets for it an equal claim to the notice and patronage of the public; for whether with respect to its graphic illustrations, or its literary merits, he feels assured that it will not be found inferior to any, even if it does not excel most, of its contemporaries.

To describe the Editor's obligations to this various friends in adequate terms would require space infinitely beyond that to which a preface is necessarily limited; but in briefly expressing his gratitude to the celebrated characters who have cheerfully afforded him the assistance of their talents, he will not only perform a grateful duty, but at the same time tacitly urge the pretensions which he considers "THE BIJOU" to possess to public favor.

To sir Walter Scott the proprietors and himself [Page vi]page image and linkare indebted for the interesting letter explanatory of the picture of his family, with an engraving of which, through the liberality of its possessor Sir Adam Ferguson, and the painter Mr. Wilkie, they have been able to enrich the Work.  Nor is it too much to expect that if every other recommendation were wanting, that plate, and still more the description by which it is accompanied would prove irresistable attractions to the world; for who can be indifferent to so pleasing a memorial of a writer to whose merits England, Europe, nay, the whole civilized world, has offered its homage and its praise.  Conspicuous as that letter is among the literary beauties of these sheets,—and to it may be attributed an interest as unfading as the reputation of its writer—almost all the popular authors of the day have contributed one or more scintillations of their genius; and it is with feelings of pride, admiration, and gratitude, that the Editor and Proprietors offer their warmest acknowledgements to John Gibson Lockhart, Esq.,1 Mrs. Hemans, Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart.; Sir Thomas Elmsley Croft, Bart.; the Rev. Blanco White; Barry Cornwall; L. E. L.; Miss Mitford;  Mrs. Pickersgill; [Page vii]page image and linkMiss Roberts; the writer of the “Diary of an Ennuyée;” R. P. Gillies, Esq.;2 J. Montgomery, Esq.; the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles; the author of “The Subaltern;” Delta; Horace Smith, Esq.; Charles Lamb, Esq.; the Ettrick Shepherd; Allan Cunningham, Esq.; N. T. Carrington,Esq [sic]; and to the other contributors.

In expressing the Editor's thanks in a separate paragraph to S. T. Coleridge, Esq.' It must not be supposed that his obligations are the less  important to those whose names have just been mentioned; but where a favor has been conferred in a peculiar manner, it at least demands that it should be peculiarly acknowledged.  Mr. Coleridge, in the most liberal manner, permitted the Editor to select what he pleased from all his unpublished MSS., and it will be seen from the “Wanderings of Cain,” though unfinished, and the other pieces bearing that Gentleman's name, that whenever he may favour the world with a perfect collection of his writings he will adduce new and powerful claims upon its respect.

In another, but no less important department of talent, the Proprietors have yet to pay their debt of gratitude.  From the invaluable favours he has conferred upon the work, the first among those claimants is he, who is the first in professional reputation, in liberality, and in all which characterises a Gentle-[Page viii]page image and linkman, Sir Thomas Lawrence, the President of the Royal Academy, who has bestowed on it three of his unrivalled productions; and which, it is needless to say, are of themselves sufficient to place "THE BIJOU" in the foremost rank of the embellished publications of Europe.

To H. W. Pickersgill, Esq. R. A. the Proprietors are deeply indebted for the gratuitous use of his beautiful picture “The Oriental Love-Letter,” in the Council Room of the Royal Academy; and which derives considerable interest from the elegant illustration by which it is accompanied from the pen of his accomplished wife.  To Mr. W. H. Worthington the Proprietors are grateful for the loan of his painting "The Suitors Rejected."

In consequence of a resemblance between the principal incident in the Tale of HALLORAN THE PEDLAR and the catastrophe described in a recent publication of deserved popularity, both evidently referring to the same historical fact, it is necessary, in order to prevent the suspicion of plagiarism, to state that the Tale of Halloran was written, and in the hands of the publisher, long previously to the appearance of the Novel where a similar circumstance is related.  Many most valuable papers, nearly sufficient to form another volume, remain in the Editor's possession; for the obvious reason of superabundance of matter, it was impossible to insert them in the present work.

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Amidst other literary curiosities, two will be found which derive their chief attraction from the illustrious rank and eminent virtues of their authors:  these are, a translation of the celebrated Epistle of Servius Sulpicius to M. T. Cicero, by his present Majesty; and of Cicero's Epistle to Servius Sulpicius, by the lamented Duke of York, both written as exercises at a very early age.

The selection of Graphic Illustrations was made by Mr. Robert Balmanno, Secretary of the Artists' Fund, and the Publisher.

Whether THE BIJOU be worthy of its name, and how far the proprietors have redeemed the claim pledged in their prospectus, must be left to the public to determine.  It has been their unceasing endeavour to concentrate specimens of the varied talent, both in literature and art, for which this country is renowned; to allow the powers of the pencil, and the connotations of the mind, mutually to relieve and and adorn each other, where

"Each lends to each a double charm,
Like pearls upon an Ethiop's arm;"

And as no trouble has been considered too laborious, no expense too great to accomplish this object, they submit the result of their exertions with confidence unalloyed by presumption, but not unmixed with hope.

W. F.


1. [Note to Preface:] A few stanzas of the Ballad by Mr. Lockhart were printed in the “Janus” for 1826. It is so considerably improved and enlarged, the translation being now complete, as to assume a new character. [Bijou Editor, William Fraser.] Back

2. [Note to Preface:] Mr. Gillies beautiful Poem called “The seventh Day,” is, for want of space, reserved for the next volume. [Bijou Editor, William Fraser.] Back