Books and Works on Paper


Max doctors a souvenir book

04 September 2017

A lavishly produced 'Souvenir...' book published in 1899 to benefit a Charing Cross Hospital bazaar held at the Royal Albert Hall included contributions from distinguished writers, painters and composers, along with their photographic portraits.


Lot of local interest for Maurice Gorham first edition

04 September 2017

Sold for £420 in an August 24-25 sale held by Keys (17.5% buyer’s premium) was a 1939 first of Maurice Gorham’s 'The Local', with its 15 coloured litho illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.


Explore the world’s outer reaches

04 September 2017

Just the two outer panels of what had once been a six-part world map remained in a cartographic lot offered at Christie’s (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).


Classic illustrations shine in sales

04 September 2017

Last offered at auction at Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) in 1971, a pair of EH Shepard’s original ink drawings for Winnie-the-Pooh returned to their rooms to sell at £55,000.

Catalogue clues to library riches destroyed by fire

28 August 2017

A blaze which tore through Norwich Central Library one August morning in 1994 destroyed thousands of historic documents and more than 100,000 books.

Fine bindings from Spain and England

28 August 2017

Eight fine bindings are the focus of this report, which draws mainly on sales held in the UK and US in the summer months – but also includes one to come in the new season sales.


Musical marvels impress in Paris

28 August 2017

Music, in printed editions rather than autograph scores, played a significant part in raising a premium-inclusive €1.65m (£1.45m) for the third portion of the Pierre Bergé library to come to auction.


Colourful life of Jane Austen

28 August 2017

Pictured here is 'Fanny was obliged to introduce him to Mr Crawford’, an ink and watercolour version of an illustration made by Hugh Thomson for an 1897 Macmillan edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.


1813 and all tatt

26 August 2017

Tattooed from head to foot, this ‘Native of Nukahiva’ (in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia) features on one of the two frontispieces and a folding chart that form the illustrative content of the 1813, first English edition of Adam von Krusenstern’s 1803-06 Voyage round the World…


How fragments sell for fortunes

21 August 2017

Over the years, any number of rare and very early manuscript fragments have been recovered from disintegrating old bindings in which they had been used as packing.


Get it into perspective

21 August 2017

A 1765 first of John L Cowley’s The theory of perspective demonstrated… sold for £17,000 by Christie’s (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on July 12 appears to be the only first edition recorded at auction.


To whom did Clare Leighton dedicate her 1933 set of wood engravings?

14 August 2017

Almost 30 years ago, a proof copy of Clare Leighton’s 'The Farmer’s Year of 1933', effectively a cased set of 12 of her wood engravings, all captioned, signed and inscribed in her hand, sold for £2800 at Sotheby’s.


Botanist follows herbal remedy in full colour 16th century text judged 'most beautiful' of its kind

14 August 2017

Celebrated work in German issued from a Basel press sells for six figures in Stockholm auction.


Tolkien writes early verses to get into the Hobbit

14 August 2017

Three of the poems featured in A Northern Venture…, a slim collection of verses by members of the Leeds University English School Association published by the Swan Press in 1923, added considerable value to this now rare little work.

Cornucopia of works on paper reveals early 20th French gem

14 August 2017

Large numbers of lots identified only as folders, boxes and albums full of prints, watercolours, maps and so on offered in a Brightwells (17.5% buyer’s premium) sale of July 5 included one disarmingly catalogued, in full, as ‘Sketches, Watercolours, Prints of Naked Ladies, chiefly’. It sold at £500.


French 18th century magic trick book features 'blow' reading device

14 August 2017

‘L’Abbé Quille’ (shown below), against whose leg a dog is seen relieving itself in the illustration, is one of 84 hand-coloured plates – 12 each of seven subjects – that make up a French magic trick book of c.1799 sold for £2900 by Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) in a June 19-20 sale.


The Brontë sisters’ struggle to be printed

07 August 2017

Leading a 75-lot Brontë collection sold by Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on July 10* was a set of two of the novels written by the sisters in the hugely productive years of 1846-47.


Gould’s Birds of Britain flies to £36,000 at Dominic Winter

07 August 2017

Handsomely bound, a set of Gould’s Birds of Britain offered as part of the small but select Dorros ornithological library at Christie’s New York sale of June 15 failed against a $60,000-80,000 estimate, but in a Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) sale of the previous day a very differently presented set brought a mid-estimate £36,000.


Cologne edition of the first Bible in Low German makes £195,000 at Christie's

07 August 2017

“With the exception of Dürer’s Apocalypse, the most influential woodcut programme from Germany was that of the Cologne Bible of 1478-79.”


Thomas Fale’s work on the art of dialling sell at Bonhams for £5000

07 August 2017

Bid to £5000 at Bonhams (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on June 14 was a 1593 first of Thomas Fale’s 'Horolographia. The Art of Dialling'.