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A frayed copy of ‘The Farmer’s Year’ inscribed to a ‘HM Swanwick’ – possibly Walter Sickert’s feminist sister – sold for £1200 by Cheffins

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Firsts of the oblong folio book itself, according to auction records, have not made more than £200 – though are offered at much higher sums online. However, in a Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) sale of July 12, a copy was bid to £1200.

The jacket was damaged and frayed, the pictorial green cloth binding faded at the spine and edges, but it bore a New Years Day (1934) inscription by Leighton to a friend, HM Swanwick, “…hoping that it might prove a temporary escape for her from this wicked world”.

Might the recipient have been the journalist, suffragist, feminist and pacifist Helena Swanwick, sister of the painter Walter Sickert?