MATTHEW ARNOLD Autograph School Time-Table Signed.
English poet, critic and schools inspector. Author of the poem 'Dover Beach'.
A rare and unusual model school time-table, entirely in the hand of Matthew Arnold. Endorsed signed and dated by him at foot "approved on behalf of Education Department, as fulfilling requirements of sect.vii of Elementary Education Act 1870. Matthew Arnold. November 19th 72."
Folio leaf 34 x 24.5 cms (13.5 x 9.75 inches). Evidence of old mounting or binding at top edge of verso. All else fine.
A fascinating document. Matthew Arnold, the son of Rugby School's headmaster, Thomas Arnold, had been appointed as an Inspector of Schools in 1851 - an occupation which he was later to describe as 'drudgery'. He produced this time-table as a 'model' for schools to use in order to comply with the newly introduced provisions of the Elementary Education Act, which laid the foundation for the general and compulsory education for all children in Britain between the ages of 5 and 13. The timetable is mostly taken up with the '3 R's' (reading, writing and arithmetic) but also includes prayers, religious education, singing, exercise, letters, natural history, poetry, printing, etc. It also introduces the taking of a morning and afternoon register of attendance. Whilst employed as a schools inspector, Matthew Arnold was also Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. By 1870 he was already an established and major poet and the previous year (1869) has seen the publication of his landmark work of social criticism, 'Culture & Anarchy'. Matthew Arnold is probably now best remembered for his poem 'Dover Beach' (1867). Whatever else might have befallen Arnold's literary reputation, Dover Beach remains one of the great poetical works of the Victorian era and it has been hugely influential in many artistic fields.
Provenance: From the 19th century album compiled by the family of Dr James Copland F.R.S. (1791-1870), the noted Scottish physician and writer on medicine.