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Sold at a far higher than anticipated sum by Tennants (17.5% buyer’s premium) was a 17th century manuscript recipe book running to well over 300pp.

Accomplished in a single and neat cursive hand, it appears to have been compiled in the years 1678-92 by Ann Broke, the daughter of Sir Robert Broke of Nacton in Suffolk. Now preserved in a 20th century binding by Bayntun, it realised £19,000 in the North Yorkshire salerooms.

In an unusual period binding, an even earlier manuscript lot was bid to £11,000 in this July 28 auction.

This was an estate-book kept by Thomas Cony (c.1564-1608) of Bassingthorpe in Lincolnshire.

It was defined by the cataloguer as a substantial historical document, revealing the domestic and commercial transactions of a powerful member of the English merchant class that formed the backbone of the nation’s prosperity during the Elizabethan golden age.

Fine bindings


The contemporary bindings produced by Samuel Mearne for a 1660, second issue copy of John Field’s illustrated Holy Bible – £16,000 at Tennants.

Bid to £16,000 among the books in the Leyburn sale was a finely bound copy of John Ogilby’s 1660 re-issue of John Field’s large folio, illustrated Holy Bible of the previous year.

This was a copy whose two volumes boasted fine and contemporary red goatskin gilt bindings by Samuel Mearne.

Friend of CS Lewis

Another notable feature of the sale was the inclusion of a group of seven lots that came from the library of Cecil Harwood, a lifelong friend of CS Lewis – the two men having first met at Oxford in 1919.

Estimated in the low hundreds, some of these lots made far, far higher sums, and bid to £9500 was Lewis’ personal, annotated copy of Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla.

An edition of the works of the Icelandic historian, poet and politician (1179-1241) that was published in Cambridge in 1932, it was defined by the cataloguer as a hugely evocative literary artefact, one that shed light on Lewis’ mature engagement with the Norse sagas that had first attracted him as a young schoolboy.

Following the sale, it was also revealed that Lewis’ copy contained a poem in the hand of the distinguished literary scholar and Chaucerian expert, Neville Coghill.

One of two lots from this same property that reached £6000 offered presentation firsts of A Controversy and Rehabilitations and Other Essays, OUP publications of 1939 that were both inscribed “A.C. Harwood, ex dono auctoris, June 1939” on their front free endpapers.

Bid to £5000 was a 1933 first of The Pilgrim’s Regress. An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism that Lewis inscribed for Harwood’s wife, Daphne, who was a friend in her own right.

Top Potter

Finally, a note that a 1997 first impression copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, previewed in ATG No 2507, left all other lots far behind, in financial terms at least, in selling at £80,000.