A group of 177 lots that opened a March 31 auction held by Forum (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) came from the estate of Alan Mitchell, a well-known book dealer who died in 2016, and his wife, Polly, who passed away just last year.
A watercolour drawing by Thomas Daniell of the Mausoleum of Sultan Purveiz, near Allahabad that made £45,000 in the sale was featured in ATG No 2538, and a couple of other lots from the Mitchell property are to be found among those illustrated or otherwise noted here.
Earlier works offered by Forum included a 1563, second edition of John Colet’s A ryght fruitfull monition c[o]ncernyng the ordre of a good christian mans life…, described as the Bute copy and bearing a Cardiff Castle bookplate. Preserved in an early 20th century binding of morocco gilt by De Coverly, it sold at £8000.
A 1631 copy of Thomas Lupton’s A Thousand Notable Things of Sundrie Sorts… that sold for £11,000 had many shortcomings in terms of condition, but an ownership inscription marked it out as special.
It was that of Frances Wolfreston (1607-77), a woman who came from the ordinary rungs of society, said Forum, but formed a substantial library that remained in family ownership until 1856, when most of it was sold at Sotheby’s. (Just a week later, in a Dominic Winter sale of April 6-7, a 1550 edition of William Langland’s The vision of Pierce plowman… from Wolfreston’s library was sold at a much higher than predicted £16,000.)
A 1691, first edition in English of The Morals of Confucius…, a little browned in a worn and re-backed period binding, made a considerably higher than expected £5500 at Forum.
In a much later polished calf gilt binding by Bumpus, a three-decker, 1813 first of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice had the half-title of Vol I supplied from a second edition and lacked that of the third volume, but it doubled expectations at £70,000.
A fine looking 1897 first, but later issue of Bram Stoker’s Dracula sold at £17,000 and among early 20th century successes, a scarce first English issue of PG Wodehouse’s The Prince and Betty of 1912, lacking a jacket and faded to the spine, made £3200.
Signed by John Le Carré on the title-page, a copy of the 1963 novel that established his reputation as a master of the espionage thriller, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, set a new high at £4200.
Old 78rpm records have rarely featured on these pages, but this sale saw £875 paid for one of c.1910 in which Ernest Shackleton recounts details of his Nimrod expedition to the Antarctic, while a speech made by the suffragist Dame Christabel Pankhurst shortly after her release from Holloway prison in 1908 reached £800.