History of the Peninsular War by Robert Southey, Three Volume Set, First Editions Published 1823, 1827, and 1832

Southey, Robert. History of the Peninsular War. London: John Murray, 1823, 1827, 1832. First edition three volume set. Original boards and presented in custom slipcase.

This first edition three volume set of Robert Southey’s History of the Peninsular War has been conserved and rebound still featuring the original 19th century boards. All three volumes were published in London by John Murray in 1823, 1827, and 1832 respectively. The set is housed in a custom archival slipcase.

Robert Southey was a famous British poet and part of the Romantic School. One of the “Lake Poets,” he was good friends with William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge. In 1813, the radical author was appointed Poet Laureate. Aside from poetry, Southey wrote several popular biographies and was known for his prose writing including his History of the Peninsular War. Passionate about Spanish and Portuguese history, Southey studied these topics in depth at Oxford when not focusing on his poetry. His writings, along with others, helped to change the British perception of Spain from a backward country to one of valor.

The Peninsular War lasted from 1808 - 1814 and concerned the Napoleon Empire and Bourbon Spain, backed by Portugal and Great Britain. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the great powers were fighting for control over the important Iberian Peninsula. After Napoleon marched into Spain and Portugal, putting his Continental System into effect against Great Britain, the Spanish rose up in opposition of Napoleon’s brother and appointed ruler. Backed by the British, the forces fought against the French to eventually win Spanish independence, raise military prestige for Britain, and make the fortunes of Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington. By the end of the war, it proved to be the bloodiest war in modern Spanish history, including their own civil wars. This series details the impactful war and all its events including abdications, war strategies, and social effects all through the voice of a prolific 19th century writer.


Age appropriate condition, beautifully rebacked in matching calf retaining the original boards, which show some signs of age wear. The  spine has hand-tooled gilt decorative motifs, gilt lettering and five raised bands. Some scattered foxing throughout and light soiling along the top. They are edged with a marble design matching the end pages. A 1915 newspaper clipping from the New York Times is inside the cover of Volume I, describing a journalist’s tour of the French Army on the Western Front.

The custom built archival slipcover holds all three volumes. Brown cloth with a recess and printed photo of Robert Southey on the front with a ribbon inside for easy and safe access to the books.

Dimensions: 11.5” H x 9.25” W x 7.25” D (all three volumes with slipcase)

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