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Left: The Title-page of the first issue of Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrapbook. Middle: The Love Letter W. H. Note’s engraving after Edward Corbould’s painting Right: Cootus Minar, Delhi Ebenezer Challis created this engraving based on the drawing of Samuel Prout, which in turn is based on the sketches of Captain R.N. Elliot, R. N.. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Letitia E. Landon believed some of her finest work appeared in the annuals, especially in Fisher’s Drawing-Room Scrap Book. In her letter to Croker, dated 10 October 1831, she told him that the work came at a good time for her: “a week ago Messrs. Fisher’s (sic) proposal would have been a matter of comparative indifference, but from some recent family events it is a perfect fairy-gift” (quoted Sharpe’s Magazine, February 1862 p. 64). The ‘family events’ may have been demands on her purse from her mother, brother, or upkeep for her children.

The Scrapbook’s front and back covers.

She edited the Drawing-Room Scrap Book from 1832 until 1839, the final issue appearing after her death. It was distributed not only in London, but also in New York, Paris, Berlin and St. Petersburg. She was much more than editor: she was almost the sole author of all eight volumes of what has been termed “one of the most impressive annuals” (Sypher 1999). Jerdan remembered that “she had no assistance from any hand”, but contrary to this accepted view Maginn “used to repeat those poems which he had given to the fair editress, laughing heartily all the time at the little hoax they were playing off on the public” (Mackenzie 5.lxxxvi).Driven by the need to keep money coming in, both for her own and her mother's support, as well as the perennially needy Whittington, and more than likely having to contribute in whole or in part towards the three children and William Jerdan had fostered on to others to care for, Letitia E. Landon’s next book of poetry, The Zenana appeared in Fisher’s Drawing-Room Scrapbook of 1834. She had been given sixteen engravings on which to compose poetic responses on Indian themes, and she also included footnotes providing commentary on her story. — Susan Matoff

Engravings — Land- and Cityscapes