Books and Works on Paper


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Bee books create saleroom buzz

04 December 2017

British bee books formed an unusual feature of a November 8 sale held by Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium).

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George Orwell works make large contribution to 'English Bibliophile' auction series

04 December 2017

George Orwell is the focus of a first look at a November 7 Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) sale of books from The Library of an English Bibliophile, the seventh in that series to have been held since 2010. Orwell’s books made a significant contribution to the overall total.

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Natural history collection includes hunting works

27 November 2017

Natural history works, together with books, prints, even pictures featuring aspects of hunting, were a key component of a Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) sale of November 2 billed only as The Library of a European Gentleman.

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To Muriel with love from Beatrix Potter

27 November 2017

It was in poor condition and lacked the backstrip, but a copy of The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle offered in the book section of a Greenslade Taylor Hunt (19.5% buyer’s premium) sale of November 2 was redeemed by the presence of a presentation inscription.

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Fairy tales and Dr Seuss fascinate in the Big Apple

27 November 2017

Harry Clarke worked for three years on his first major book illustration commission, an edition of the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen commissioned by Harrap.

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The fruit of mysterious labours

27 November 2017

Originally published in parts in the years 1804-12, George Brookshaw’s Pomona Britannica contains 90 colour-printed and hand finished aquatint and stipple-engraved plates of fruits then cultivated in Britain (pineapple pictured below).

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Lear sticks to landscape

20 November 2017

A letter that Edward Lear wrote in 1881 to a friend to whom he intended to dispatch two drawings of Athens was among the more successful lots that Bloomsbury Auctions (24/18/12% buyer’s premium) sold on October 19.

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Distinguished musical group tunes up in London auction

20 November 2017

Musical manuscripts, letters and photographs of composers offered at Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) on October 26 comprised the first part only of what was described as “a distinguished private collection” of books that is to be dispersed next year.

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Cocktail recipes go into the sale mix

20 November 2017

It looks very tatty, but the dust jacket shown below is apparently a rare variant featuring a classic 1937 design by Alex Jardine for a 1927 first ‘Coronation’ edition of the Café Royal Cocktail Book.

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Here be monsters… and an early view of Iceland

20 November 2017

Featuring both real and mythical creatures, including a monstrous selection of denizens of the deep, this map of Iceland with its mountains, fjords, rivers, glaciers and a volcano is one of the more famous found in Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarum.

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BOOKS AND WORKS ON PAPER: A botanical collection grown over decades

13 November 2017

A botanical collection formed over several decades by DF Allen of Washington DC and sold on October 26 by Sotheby’s New York (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) was small in numbers but focused on the exceptional.

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Holme truths about costly heraldic work

13 November 2017

Earlier works in an October 18 sale held by Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) included a scarce 1688 first of Randle Holme’s The Academy of Armory, or a Storehouse of Armory and Blazon, an heraldic work by the third member of a distinguished Chester family of heraldic painters and genealogists to bear that name. It made £1200.

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The revolution may well be televised

13 November 2017

A brief letter of 1864 in which Ulysses S Grant agrees to General William T Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’, a bold plan to destroy Atlanta, then march across Georgia to Savannah or Charleston during the American Civil War, sold for $100,000 (£75,755) on October 19, at Heritage Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in Dallas.

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Long voyage ends in Edinburgh

06 November 2017

Dated by the Edinburgh auctioneers to c.1815-17, a group of watercolours made on a voyage to the Middle and Far East was bid to a far higher than expected £13,000 in a 650-lot Lyon & Turnbull (25/20% buyer’s premium) sale of October 11.

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Greek Herodotus, Italian treatise and Alpine peaks

06 November 2017

The October 17 Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale focused largely on early printed medical, scientific and travel books but also included, at $24,000 (£18,180), a first edition in Greek of the works of Herodotus.

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For the armchair globetrotter

06 November 2017

Dating from 1812, this pair of terrestrial and celestial library globes of 12in (31cm) diameter was made by the well-known London firm of John & William Cary.

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Hobby-horses go helter-skelter with no brakes

06 November 2017

Published by Ackermann in 1819 in its ‘Repository of the Arts’ journal, Four & Twenty Hobby-Horses All of a Row is an amusing coloured aquatint, accompanied by verses (by one L Harrison) that begin “Hobby’s the word, and onward sliding, All London Town is set a-riding:”.

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Actresses Hepburn and Leigh star in saleroom

30 October 2017

Two sales that dispersed the personal effects of famous film stars, Audrey Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, marked the start of the new London auction season – and scripts, letters and books featured in both.

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Shelley signature competes with rare sci-fi and fantasy

30 October 2017

Science, fantasy and horror was the principal theme of a PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) sale of October 5, though there were also books to appeal to broader literary tastes.

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Library touched by the hand of Dod

30 October 2017

Edge Hall, near Malpas in Cheshire, has been a home to members of the Dod family since the reign of Henry II, but the library – sold by Forum Auctions (25/20% buyer’s premium) on October 12 – was formed in the 19th century and is typical of country house libraries.

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