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As a young 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers de Sola Pinto had served under ‘Mad Jack’ during WWI and remained a friend until the writer’s death in 1967.

The letters, the earliest of which is dated 1919, are valued at £6000-10,000 the lot. They contain many references to Sassoon’s highly controversial attitudes to war and offer a valuable insight into the soldier and poet’s complex character and state of mind. In one letter he writes about a lecture tour of the USA, where, after providing anecdotes on infantry life in the trenches, he read some of his war poems. Suicide in Trenches, he reports, brought booing and hissing from the audience. The correspondence also contains references to his literary contemporaries: “The inquires about W.O [Wilfred Owen] always depress me considerably. As the years pass the gap his death made in my life as a poet becomes if anything more poignant”.

Among the books is a 1918 first of the verse collection Counter-Attack, inset, bound in contemporary full morocco by Hatchards to retain the original wrappers and containing a copy of the poem Idyll in Sassoon’s hand, as well as a note by de Sola Pinto that reads: ‘This was given to me by the author … my Captain in the 25th Royal Welch Fusiliers in the line St Floris (Flanders), July 1918.

The autographed poem was written by him at my request in a page of his field pocket-book. I asked him for a poem which would not be about the war”.

That book is valued at £200-400, as is de Sola Pinto’s copy of the book in which Idyll was first printed – one of 200 copies of the Picture Show that were privately printed in 1919 at the University Press, Cambridge, Signed and inscribed to his old comrade by Sassoon, it is in the original boards and in this instance contains an autograph copy of a poem titled Scientific Rapture.

One of just 75 copies of the Recreations that were printed [anonymously] for the author in March 1923, in the original vellum backed boards and with an autograph copy of Concert-Interpretation, a poetical defefnce of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, laid down in the back of the book, is valued at £300-£500.

More details can be found at www.mill-house-auctions.co.uk.