Thomas Hardy’s design for a service sheet for the interment of his father in Stinsford 1892 is among an archive bought from Maggs Bros.

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Trust buys Thomas Hardy archive

Dorset Archives Trust (DAT) has raised the final £5000 needed to purchase a collection of important manuscript and printed material once owned by Thomas Hardy.

The archives were sold by London dealer Maggs Bros and had been in private hands for decades. The £50,000 price was raised from a number of sources, including public donations as well as £25,000 and £20,000 respectively from the Arts Council England/ V&A Purchase Fund and Friends of the National Libraries.

The collection consists of 46 separate elements and includes books which once formed part of Hardy’s own library at Max Gate, including the schoolboy Hardy’s annotated copy of Horace and his personal edition of Pouncy’s Dorsetshire Photographically Illustrated.

Carola Campbell, DAT chairman, said: “Particularly exciting are the new insights this once hidden treasure of archival material reveals about the private thoughts and life of Thomas Hardy.”

Russian icon taken from dealership


This mid-17th century Russian icon of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker has been stolen from The Temple Gallery.

A Russian icon has been stolen from the shop of a London dealer.

The Temple Gallery, in Notting Hill, west London, reported the mid-17th century Russian icon of St Nicholas the Wonderworker missing to police last month.

The 19.5 x 18in (50 x 46cm) item is believed to have been taken by two individuals who visited the shop in mid-December.

Anyone with information on this theft should call 101 quoting the Metropolitan Police crime reference number 5619660/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Century landmark for White Label

One hundred auction houses have signed up to use online auction software provided by Antiques Trade Gazette parent company Auction Technology Group.

Auction house Elstob & Elstob became the 100th White Label customer. Like others who have signed up to use the service, Elstob & Elstob will simultaneously list timed and live auctions on both its own website and ATG’s art and antiques marketplaces and

ATG’s Global Auction Platform (GAP) White Label product provides auction houses with options such as simplified sign-in for bidders and multi-language support capabilities – a feature that was introduced in the second half of 2020.

Poems purchase has Austen appeal


The first edition of the two volumes of William Cowper’s Poems acquired by Chawton House.

Chawton House has bought a rare first edition of Poems by Jane Austen’s favourite poet, William Cowper, which was once owned by her brother Edward Austen Knight.

The Elizabethan manor house in Hampshire is now a visitor attraction. It has acquired this copy published in 1782 that was very likely to have been read by Jane.

She was given a home at Chawton Cottage, in the grounds of Chawton House, with her mother and sister in 1809, by Edward. He had inherited the estates of Chawton and Godmersham Park (in Kent).

This copy of Poems was in the Godmersham Library at a time when Jane visited.

Funding help came from the Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) and the Godmersham Lost Sheep Society.

Stephen Clarke, FNL trustee, said: “This first edition of the two volumes of Cowper’s poems, bearing the Knight family shelfmark and the later bookplate of [Jane’s great-nephew] Montagu George Knight, is perhaps one of the most important books originally in Edward’s library at Godmersham Park to have been separated from the rest of that library, now held at Chawton House.”

Prof Peter Sabor, founder of the Lost Sheep Society, said: “We are constantly on the lookout for books bearing one of the several Knight family bookplates that have been scattered far and wide over the years. The Holy Grail in these endeavours had been Poems, long out of our reach.”

The book was purchased from dealer Bernard Quaritch and had been offered for sale for £8000.

Mallams increases buyer’s premium

Auction house Mallams has raised its buyer’s premium. Sales at the Oxford, Cheltenham and Abingdon salerooms will now have a buyer’s premium of 25% plus VAT.

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In Numbers


The proportion of Sotheby’s $92m global wine and spirits sales that were represented by spirits in 2020. Five years ago spirits made up less than 2% of the total.