Winston Churchill's Copy of "India Under Ripon: A Private Diary" by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, First Edition, 1909

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt. India Under Ripon: A Private Diary. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1909. First edition, first printing, first copy printed. With dated inscription from author to Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill and Randolph S. Churchill’s private copy, with respective bookplates. Blue boards with cream cloth spines, black embossed titles on spine and front cover, and ¼ leather slipcase. 

Presented is Winston Churchill’s copy of India Under Ripon: A Private Diary by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt. A first edition, first printing, published in 1909, this book was gifted by the author, Blunt, to Winston Churchill. The front flyleaf reads, in Blunt’s hand, "Winston S. Churchill with kind regards from Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, November 25, 1909, for Nov 30." In his distinctive hand, Churchill has added on the front pastedown: "This was the first copy printed WSC." 

Two personal bookplates are pasted on the front paste down. At bottom is a black square bookplate, with white text: "From the Library of Sir Winston Churchill." Above, is a second black and white bookplate, illustrating a hallway with dogs. The text reads, "Ex Libris Randolph S. Churchill." This indicates that the book, gifted to Winston Churchill by Blunt, was added into the personal library of Winston Churchill, and then later gifted to or inherited by Churchill’s only son, Randolph S. Churchill. 

India Under Ripon is a private diary of Blunt 's Indian tour of 1883-84, during the time of Lord Ripon's viceroyalty. Published in 1909, at the time Churchill was the President of the Board of Trade and the youngest Cabinet member since 1866. The relationship between Blunt and Winston Churchill is well-known,  if under-reported. Dokter notes in his article on Blunt's influence on Churchill, "Blunt continued to pressure Churchill to be an imperial reformer in the same way he had done with Lord Randolph. After discussing his latest book, India Under Ripon, with Churchill, Blunt concluded that Winston was "much more favourable to my anti-Imperial views than he was two months ago. Indeed he is almost converted to the view that the British Empire will eventually ruin England" (Dockter). 

Blunt, a poet, diplomat, traveller, and radical anti-Imperialist, was a good friend to Randolph S. Churchill and assisted the young Winston in his biography of his father. Blunt had no small influence over Churchill's early political career, especially toward Home Rule in Ireland, and prison reform. He prosecuted his anti-Imperialist agenda at every opportunity, including policy in Somaliland, and the treatment of muslims in Crete. Blunt's influence began to wane once Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911 when they drifted over policy regarding the Empire. However, they maintained a strong friendship.


Very good condition. Blue cloth boards with cream cloth spines, black embossed titles on spine and front cover. Deckled edge, binding a little loose. Some toning and light to spine and boards. Presented in custom 1/4 black leather and cloth slipcase with red leather spine accents, gilt titles, and raised bands. Internally very clean. Author dated inscription and signature legible. Churchill’s initialed inscription clear and legible. Two bookplates, of Winston Churchill and Randolph S. Churchill, adhered to front pastedown. Octavo, 343 pp. 

Case Dimensions: 9 7/8"H x 7"W x 2"D

Book Dimensions: 9 1/4" H x 6 1/4"W x 1 1/2"D

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