It was one of a series of letters that Jane wrote during the months of October 1800 to February 1801, while Cassandra was staying with their brother Edward at Godmersham Park in Kent.
Writing from what was then still the family home at Steventon Priory, Jane provides a vivid and witty account of her social life, everything from the purchase of new tables for the rectory and social gatherings to news of their brother Charles’ capture of a Turkish pirate ship.
Reference is also made to the poor health of Harris Bigg- Wither, the wealthy owner of a local estate from whom, two years later, she first accepted and then rejected an offer of marriage.
▪ Two items from a collection of the paintings and books of Edith Oenone Somerville being sold by Fonsie Mealy on December 13 featured in a preview piece in ATG No 2270.
The manuscript of ‘Growly-Wowly…’, the watercolour illustrated story in verse that she made for the amusement of her sister’s children around 1880, but which was never published, sold at €3000 (£2520).The Story of the Discontented Elephant of 1912, one of 1500 copies and signed twice on the title, made €1100 (£925).
▪ Previewed and illustrated in ATG No 2269 was a deluxe, fully-coloured copy of Thomas Shotter Boys’ Original Views of London As It Is of 1842. It fell just short of a recordsetting bid in selling at $17,000 (£13,625) in a December 8 sale held by Swann.
▪ A copy of Jacques Gautier d’Agoty’s Myologie previewed on the book pages of ATG No 2267 was sold by Ketterer Kunst for €20,000 (£16,800) in a November 21-22 sale, and on December 6, at Christie’s Paris, another copy made that same sum.
The latter, however, was one of a group of six of these extraordinary and very large anatomical studies that are also landmarks of early colour printing.
Four of them were sold, the most expensive, at €26,000 (£21,840), being Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humaine… of 1759. The 20 coloured mezzotint plates in this work make up nine almost full-size figures of men and women – seen front and back, skeletal and pregnant.
This particular copy was last seen at auction in 2007 at Christie’s New York, when as part of the Dean Edell ‘Anatomy as Art’ collection it sold for $50,000 (then £24,500). The upper parts only of two plates are shown left.
▪ A copy of the first Beano Book, published in 1940, featured in the Previews of ATG No 2267. In a November 27 sale held by Comic Book Auctions it sold at £3650.
However, it was a copy of the following year’s annual, described as the highest-grade example ever to come to auction, that made the sale’s top price at £5500. Both of those annuals came from the Brenda Butler Archive, but from another consignor came a Beano Book 3 of 1942 that sold for £3050.
Illustrated right is a July, 1941 copy of The Beano Comic with a then topical theme. On the front cover strip Big Eggo surprises Hitler and Goering by delivering a large explosive egg for their breakfast. It sold for £390.