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Adventures of a Pincushion by Dorothy Kilner – £1450 at Dominic Winter.

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Three early works for children by Dorothy Kilner brought good and seemingly record prices in the first South Cerney sale of the year.

Bid to £1450 in the Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) sale of January 30 was one of those innovative works in which Kilner gave the narrator’s part to animals or in inanimate objects.

Several editions of her anonymously published Adventures of a Pincushion appeared in the late 18th century and this example, in a contemporary binding of tree calf gilt, was one printed for the publisher John Marshall c.1785.

Still in the original printed yellow boards was an 1804 first of New Dialogues for the Amusement of Good Children, a scarce example of a work that declares itself to be the work of M[ary] Pelham, a pseudonym regularly used by the writer*. It sold at £2300.

This copy also bore on the front pastedown the book ticket of Frances Kilner, thought to be the niece who was one of those who looked after Dorothy when, in later years, she suffered with both a back injury and mental problems.

The third Kilner item was a two-volume, 1781 first of Clear and Concise Account of the Origin and Design of Christianity aimed at children. With some faults, but with a preface signed and dated MP, this John Marshall publication made £1250.

American adventure

Sold at £3000 was a very different work: a copy of Francisco Loubaysssin de Lamarca’s Historia tragicomica de Don Henrique de Castro.

Published in Paris in 1617, it is generally regarded as the first novel set in Spanish America. The action is set principally in 16th-century Chile but also recounts visits to Mexico, Peru and a circumnavigation of the globe with Magellan.

An edition of 1612 was once mooted, but no copy has ever been found and a mistaken reading of the date is suspected. This rare example of the supposed first in stained red, 19th-century calf showed some spotting and old damp marking at front and rear.

The day’s top-priced lot, at £27,000, was an untitled composite atlas of c.1845 presenting in all some 44 engraved or lithographic maps from a John Arrowsmith Colonial Atlas and a London Atlas of Universal Geography. The principal attraction, however, was the presence of an 1843, second state example of Arrowsmith’s early Map of Texas.

These Gloucestershire sales always make a strong showing of maps and other successes recorded on this occasion included, at £3200, John Warburton’s New & Correct Map of the County of York… of c.1720.

At a scale of 2.5 miles to the inch, the four component map sheets were intended to form a wall map measuring around 3ft 4in x 4ft 3in (1 x 1.29m) and to be framed by three text sheets. The latter were not present in this example, which appears to have once formed part of a French composite atlas.

A Stanford’s Library Map of the World, a large, linen mounted and folding coloured litho map of 1881 was sold for £1800 rather than the suggested £150-200.

Other notable South Cerney lots included an 1864 first of RP Napper’s Views in Wales. The Vale of Neath, a cloth-bound folio group of 13 photographs for which the auctioneers could find no other auction record. It sold at £4200.

* The initials MP originally stood for Maryland Point, the Essex home of the Kilner family, but when pressed by her publisher for a pseudonym, Kilner opted for Mary Pelham.