An illustration by Brook Taylor Kitchin for one of six illustrated booklets made to entertain his sister’s children. Offered at John Nicholson’s, they sold at £2200 to an online buyer.

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Depicting a huge and rather glum-looking dirigible of piscine form, beneath which a house is suspended, it was one of 11 watercolours made for a 1904 History of North Viewgoland – one of a group of six watercolour illustrated, manuscript children’s books produced in the early years of the 20th century that sold for £2200.

Contained in card covers, these little booklets were the work of ‘Uncle Brook’, the architect and designer Brook Taylor Kitchin, for the amusement of the children of his older sister, Alexandra, or Xie as she was more familiarly known.

The young Xie had been a favourite model of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and some 50 photographs that Dodgson made of her are known. Brook himself appeared in some of Dodgson’s ‘St George and the Dragon’ photographs.

On tour

Sold for £1000 in the Surrey auction was an anonymous manuscript of 1805 titled ‘A Tour in Wales and a Part of Monmouthshire. With a Short Description of Gloucester Cathedral’. It was accompanied by eight original, but seemingly rather naive black and white illustrations, as well as some later prints.

Other notably successful lots included a group of small theatre bills of the 1840s, three of them printed on silk (one now in three parts) but all produced for amateur productions at a theatre in Spanish Town, the capital of Jamaica at the time.


A printed silk scorecard commemorating a Kent v All England cricket match of 1839. It sold at £850 at John Nicholson’s auction.

Those bills sold at £1200, while a printed silk scorecard produced to commemorate a Kent v All England cricket match of 1839 made £850.