Looking positively professional in its execution is one of the colour plates by schoolgirls that illustrate the copy of Christmas Pictures… of 1922 sold in Penzance for £320.

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Offered by David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) as part of its August 21 collectors’ sale, it made a sum only twice bettered at auction.

A copy sold at Bonhams a few years ago for £480, but it was 40 years ago, at Christie’s, that the prize copy of this Evelyn work came to auction. Sold for £1700 in the King Street salerooms was a copy that had a later Rivière binding but was inscribed by Evelyn to the Earl of Clarendon and had errata corrected in the author’s hand.

School work

Estimated at £25-50 at David Lay was Christmas Pictures by Children, a 1922 Dent publication with an introduction by Edmund Dulac and a preface by Francesca Wilson, a Newcastle-born Quaker, schoolteacher and humanitarian activist and writer.

This work, however, seems to be scarcer than that estimate suggested and it sold for £320. I could find no auction record, but according to a copy found for sale online, it features 14 coloured litho plates by schoolgirls aged 14-16. One of the plates is reproduced above.

In a slightly frayed jacket but otherwise in good condition, a copy of a much better-known illustrated work, William Timlin’s The Ship that Sailed to Mars, sold for £1300.

An example of the little portable globes that John Betts began producing in the mid 19th century for school and domestic use made £1000.

Made up of eight coloured litho gores, complete with strings and toggles, plus two sheets of diagrams, it was still in the original box and in good condition.