Books and Works on Paper


Photobooks: the original image-sharing platform

03 May 2018

The photobook genre is almost as old as photography itself and can be collected at all price points, as Bonhams’ Matthew Haley reports.

Books Fairs calendar: May 3-July 29, 2018

03 May 2018

A list of upcoming book fairs in the UK and overseas.

Lawes of ecclesiastical policy

Beautiful bindings at South Cerney auction

30 April 2018

A volume containing Richard Hooker’s sixth and eighth books dealing with The Lawes of Ecclesiastical Policy… is a 1651 re-issue of an edition first published three years earlier. The principal attraction, however, was the armorial binding.

Golf book

First golf book tees off in the US

30 April 2018

Published in 1895, Wright & Dixon’s Guide to American Golf… was one of the very first books on the game to appear in that country. A copy sold on April 12 in San Francisco for $42,500 (£29,930) was billed as “perhaps the only copy extant”.


Celestial work lights up Glos sale

30 April 2018

First such pocket atlas published in England leads a look at highly diverse auction selection


Russian album is crowning glory at US auction

30 April 2018

Printed for circulation only among members of the imperial family and those foreign dignitaries who had participated in the celebrations, an album recording the 1883 coronation in Moscow of Tsar Alexander III and the Empress Marie Feodorovna sold for $30,000 (£21,125) in a US sale.


Complete 17th century work is a great rarity of Judaica

30 April 2018

Bound in recent times as six volumes in elaborately gilt crushed scarlet morocco, a 1614-17 Prague first of a major commentary on the Mishnah by Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller (1579-1654), was a highlight of a recent New York sale of Judaica.


British birds and natural history fly high in New York

23 April 2018

Sold for $300,000 (£214,185) apiece in a recent New York sale were three very well-known works from the worlds of cartography and natural history.


Word on the street is of a Ravilious ‘record’

23 April 2018

Brought into a free valuation day held at Bishop’s Cleve, near Cheltenham, a copy of Eric Ravilious’ High Street sold on March 27 at what would appear to be a record sum in a Derbyshire sale.


From Dickens to a dodgy bishop

23 April 2018

Running to 600 lots and achieving £560,000 hammer, a recent London sale incorporated a wide range of collecting fields, from Dickensian theatrical ephemera to children’s books and all things Irish.


Music marks abolitionist’s return from exile

16 April 2018

Composed to mark the departure from these shores after two years of self-imposed exile in Ireland and England, a Farewell Song of Frederick Douglass, on Quitting England for America – the Land of his Birth was published in London in 1847.


Lady, can you spare a dime?

16 April 2018

Rather slimmer than he is seen in the later films that are perhaps his principal memorial, this ink self-portrait by the comedian, juggler and actor WC Fields dates from his earlier, vaudeville years.


Journals detail journeys all over

16 April 2018

Collection of more than 100 travel accounts is one highlight of a varied London auction.

A passage to Serindia

16 April 2018

An estimate of £120-150 was never going to do for a lot in a Leominster sale of March 28 that was catalogued, in full, as “STEIN, Sir Aurel, Serindia, a Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost, four vols, and a box with maps (5)”.


Sailing off to Iceland

16 April 2018

Something of a rarity, To Iceland in a Yacht appears to have no other auction appearances to its name. It was privately printed in Edinburgh in 1873 for its author, the chemist Robert Angus Smith (1817-84), a man best known for his work on air pollution and his identification of what later came to be known as acid rain.


John Piper and others fire a salvo for Russia

09 April 2018

One of just 100 copies of a scarce, privately published edition of poems called Salvo for Russia, produced in 1942 in aid of the ‘Comforts Fund for Women and Children of Russia’, was offered in a recent West Country sale.


All you need to know to make a ‘Harty Choke Pie’

09 April 2018

Early recipe books can make for absorbing and, to modern readers, occasionally comic or puzzling reading, as demonstrated in three examples from recent sales.


Let there be Irish lights

09 April 2018

Used to dramatic effect on the cover of the catalogue for a Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale, shown below is one of a collection of around 125 monochrome watercolour drawings of Irish lighthouses and the Irish coastline produced c.1860-67.


Oh my cod… a giant specimen in print

09 April 2018

The work of the MacMahon photographic studio of Aberdeen, this extraordinary carbon print was made in 1908 and depicts ‘Giant Cod Specimens…’ bought and cured by A&M Smith, a local fish processing and curing business.


Stormy story of Plath and Hughes

09 April 2018

A remarkable Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes collection which was consigned to auction by their daughter, Frieda Hughes, ran to some 100 lots and formed a separately catalogued part of a recent Knightsbridge sale.