Shelley’s notebooks are of varying types and sizes, but he and Mary seem to have had a preference for vellum-bound volumes of the kind shown here. In February 1820 Mary Shelley wrote to Maria Gisborne from Pisa asking her for a number of hard-to-find items: ‘a good Quarto Bible’, two or three small combs, and ‘some Arrow root, or in default of that Tapioca’. She added a final request: ‘Would you have the kindness to order at your Stationers a dozen plain books like that the Prometheus was copied in. I think the price was three pauls or more…’.
As was his usual habit, Shelley had adorned the covers of this notebook with doodles and sketches.
Percy Bysshe Shelley; (1822) Mary Shelley; (bequest, 1851) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1899) John C.E. Shelley (later Sir John Shelley-Rolls); (gift, 1946) Bodleian.
Bodleian Shelley Manuscripts, XVI (1994) ed. D.H. Reiman and M.J. Neth, esp. p. 2; ibid., XXIII (2002), ed. T. Tokoo and B.C. Barker-Benfield, pp. 25-9; Mary Shelley Letters, i, pp. 128â€“9.