Sold at £3200 rather than the suggested £100-150 in the Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium) auction of August 13 was an 88pp manuscript journal kept by 15-year-old William Peckitt.
Dated 1746, it includes notes on maths, physics, astronomy and other subjects that filled the days on which he had to attend school, but it seems those notes related to his would-be trade of stained glass craftsman were the greater attraction.
Peckitt describes in detail the colours required for fruit, flowers, cattle, horses and sheep, and, where humans are concerned, adds notes on painting the whites of eyes and eyebrows. They are done “…with pure black, then they are heightened with little touches of white”.
Peckitt was born in and spent most of his life in York, where it is said he did much of the stained-glass work that has survived from the second half of the 18th century. A window at Trinity College library, Cambridge, depicting Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon is also his work, said the saleroom.
Estimated at £150-250 but bid to £5500 was a lot that included mock-up or dummy versions of Ronald Searle books dating from the 1950s.
One, for The Terror of St Trinians, was a printer’s typographic mock-up with occasional autograph notes, but the other was an incomplete, 98pp typed manuscript mock-up of Down with Skool! This was the first of the Molesworth books that Searle illustrated in collaboration with the writer, Geoffrey Willans.
Red crayon cancel lines feature on all leaves – as in the example reproduced above– and some of the illustrations are better than others towards the end of a mock-up that is only around three-quarters complete.
Bid to £900, again well over estimate, was a lot presenting two rather spotted and torn broadside ballads: The False Lover Rewarded, dated to c.1760 and apparently to be sung to the tune of My Love she does slight me, and another called Just Judgment of God shew’d upon Dr John Faustus.
The latter was dated to c.1720 by the cataloguer, as listed in the English Short Title Catalogue, but online academic catalogue references also point to a much earlier, 17th century editions.
Other notable lots included, at £2000 and £480 respectively, dust-jacketed Gollancz firsts of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938) and Dorothy L Sayers’ Gaudy Night (1935). The jacket of the latter was rather more chipped around the edges.