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The title-page of Thomas Lewis’ warning about perils associated with churchyard burials, sold for £420 at Bearnes Hampton Littlewood.

An essay by Thomas Lewis on the public health risks involved in churchyard burials realised £420 in a sale of books, maps and prints held by Bearnes Hampton Littlewood (23% buyer’s premium).

The writer’s argument, as stated on the title-page of a 1721 work called Seasonable Considerations on the Indecent and Dangerous Custom of Burying in Churches and Church-Yards…, was that “…the Custom is not only contrary to the Practice of the Antients, but fatal, in the Case of INFECTION”.

Hunting and botany

Another writer with a point to make, albeit this time anonymously, published Hunting Vindicated from Cruelty, in a letter to the Monthly Reviewers in 1782. Perhaps to make even more certain that the work’s true origins should not be discovered, the writer had this slim work issued with a Spitzbergen imprint. It sold online for £380.

Containing a full complement of 2592 hand-coloured plates, a 36-volume set of Sowerby’s English Botany… of 1790-1814, uncut in cloth-backed, pink paper covered boards with morocco labels, sold on thesaleroom.com at £1800. A few of the bindings showed some defects.

Though the drop-sided carrying box was in need of some restoration, a 10-volume set of the works of Jane Austen was in fine condition and sold at £520. Published in 1898 by Dent, the books were illustrated by HM Brock, one of whose illustrations also featured on the front cover of each volume.

Showing something of a lean to the text block, but complete with jacket, a signed 1972 first of Watership Down made £620 online. Also included were two letters exchanged by the writer and the consignor.

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Could this hand-coloured alphabet sheet have been intended for use as a jigsaw puzzle, asked the cataloguer. The publisher, E Wallis, is often credited with the invention of such things, but whether that holds true in this case is another matter. It sold at £240 in the Exeter sale held by Bearnes Hampton Littlewood.

The sale took place March 18.