The 198 lots come from the collection of Dr. Howard Knohl, a physician who has collected for decades across a wide range of subject. As well as works spanning disciplines from medicine to literature and philosophy, the items offered also include a number of rare books on obscure subjects.
The auction at Skinner follows the major sale of works from Dr Knohl’s Fox Pointe Manor Library that took place at Sotheby’s New York in 2016, raising a premium-inclusive $1.9m.
The sale at Skinner on July 20 will feature works from the Tudor era including a 1495, second edition of Ranulf Higden’s Polychromicon that lacks a number of leaves but is estimated at $40,000-50,000 and a 1556 English edition of Thomas More’s Utopia estimated at $40,000-60,000.
Many of the works were intended to have a practical application, be that in medicine, mathemathics or other subjects, ranging from an edition of the Great Herball…, a fourth printing by Thomas Gibson from 1539, to more obscure publications such as a work on cider making or a group of early compendia of folk remedies and recipes.
Pictured here is a selection of five lots on offer. View the full catalogue on thesaleroom.com.
1. Shakespeare’s fourth folio
A 1685 fourth folio of the works of William Shakespeare is one of the highlights of the early English Book collection to be sold by Skinner in Boston. It features the engraved portrait frontispiece by Martin Droeshout and is bound in red morocco gilt by Rivière. It has an estimate of $65,000-80,000.
2. Herbal remedies
‘The Great Herball’..., a 1539 fourth and "newly corrected" printing of an English translation of a medieval manuscript titled 'Circa Instans', features a selection of around 270 natural substances derived from plants, animals and minerals. Bound in full, blind tooled calf, its bears the bookplate of Christopher William Beaumont Pease – better known as Lord Wardington, whose superb cartographic and Bible collections were sold at Sotheby's in 2005-06. It has an estimate of $25,000-35,000 at Skinner.
3. The art of fowling
‘Hungers Prevention: or, the Whole Arte of Fowling by Water and Land’ by Gervase Markham (1568?-1637), printed in London by A[ugustine] Math[ewes] for Anne Helme and Thomas Langley, 1621. In this woodcut illustrated octavo first in a later binding, the author discusses the use of decoys, showing plans for very elaborate waterfowl traps and also writes about hunting dogs and falconry. It has an estimate of $3500-4500.
4. Ranulf Higden ‘Polycronicon’
A rare offering at auction that features at the Skinner sale is a second edition copy of Ranulf Higden’s (d. 1364) ‘Polycronicon’. This example of the historical and theological chronicle (translated by John Trevisa) has the word ‘Pope’ struck out by hand throughout the text. Lacking a number of leaves, it is estimated at $40,000-50,000.
5. John Donne’s tract
A 1610 first edition quarto of John Donne’s ‘Pseudo-Martyr’ features in the Skinner sale. In the polemical prose tract, the author – a converted Catholic himself – argued that Roman Catholics should take the Oath of Allegiance to James I. It was Donne’s first major appearance in print. Estimate: $25,000-35,000.