James Stephens’ Theme and Variations at Mount Stewart

Bird's eye view of Lady Londonderry's sitting room

Bird’s eye view of Lady Londonderry’s Sitting Room at Mount Stewart looking north. This room is part of a private suite which also included a Breakfast Room and Lord Londonderry’s sitting room.



A couple of months ago, I posted some images of a proof copy I found at Erddig. Recently at Mount Stewart (Northern Ireland), I found another one. This time, it was a gift from the poet and novelist James Stephens (1880-1950) to Edith, 7th Marchioness of Londonderry (1878-1959), whose collection I’d started to catalogue.

James Stephens Theme and Variations


It’s the first edition of his poetry collection Theme and variations, published in New York in 1930. Like others in Edith Londonderry’s circle of friends and acquaintances, Stephens was an Irish Republican and interested in Hiberno-Celtic culture. Many of his works are retellings of Irish fairy tales and Celtic myths, which would have chimed with Edith’s own interests in both the Irish and Scottish Celtic past.

Edith had the volume rebound in full polished calf, which suggests she much appreciated the gift.

James Stephens Theme and Variations (1930) annotations

James Stephens Theme and Variations (1930) final page

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