Messrs Williams & Norgate, 24 December 1859

ALS to Messrs. Williams & Norgate concerning the import of four copies of one of Wilkie's books published by Tauchnitz. [Saturday] 24 December 1859. Single folded sheet of cream laid paper, no watermark, 135x172mm, folded. 

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins I 185


2.a. New Cavendish Street
Decr 24th 1859


I am much
obliged to you for the form,
which I return with this
filled up and signed.
If you will kindly
let me know when
the books are received,
I will take care to
send for them, so as
to cause you as little
trouble as possible.
I remain
yours faithfully
Wilkie Collins

Williams & Norgate

Accompanied by a form in a secretarial hand - words in Wilkie's hand indicated by {}to the Honourable Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs. [Monday] 26 December 1859. A single sheet of thin, blue, laid paper, no watermark.

[embossed heading]

Williams & Norgate
14, Henrietta-Street, Covent-garden.
London, WC
Dec. 26 1859

Also at
20 South Frederick-

To the Honble Commissioners
of H.M's Customs ---

I hereby authorize Messrs
Williams & Norgate to import
for my own use {four} cop{ies}
of my Work -- "A Plot in
private life" as published by
Tauchnitz of Leipzig. --

{Wilkie Collins}




Tauchnitz was the principle publisher of English works on continental Europe. They were mainly sold to English speaking travellers abroad. As a result of the deals done with authors, the books could not be sold in the United Kingdom. Hence this letter getting permission from HM Customs for the import of the books for Wilkie's own use. 'A Plot in Private Life and Other Tales' was published by Tauchnitz in November 1859 and contained five of the stories published in The Queen of Hearts.

Although it is likely that such letters were written for all the 30 books by Collins (two of which were written with Dickens) that Tauchnitz published, only five are known, generally asking for six copies to be cleared..

See also the 1877 letter.

All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997-2005