A 1963 first edition of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (under her pseudonym), £13,000 at Dominic Winter.

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They came for sale in South Cerney from the family of Susan O’Neill- Roe, a qualified children’s nurse who worked as a childminder for a recently separated Plath in North Tawton, Devon, during the autumn of 1962.

At a time of fragile mental health but also a rich upsurge in poetic inspiration, Plath found O’Neill-Roe and her family an important source of practical and emotional support.

A first American edition copy of The Colossus is inscribed simply “For Susan & Alan & Nancy with warmest good wishes & gladness you are who you are & where you are”. Alan and Nancy Jenkins were Susan’s mother and stepfather – this copy given to them in late November.

It was estimated at £2000-3000 but sold online at £11,500.

Plath suicide

A 1963 first edition copy of The Bell Jar had a similar provenance. Carrying the ownership initials of the writer Alan Jenkins, it was sold together with two letters written from O’Neill-Roe dated January 16 and February 15, 1963, in which she discusses Plath’s suicide and a meeting with Ted Hughes when she was given the book as a gift.

“I just can’t believe that Sylvia’s killed herself – it just doesn’t feel real – I went round there yesterday morning. Poor Ted was very dazed & hardly knew what had hit him… Have you seen the reviews of her book The Bell Jar – Ted gave me a copy of it”. Such an emotive copy of Plath’s final novel brought £13,000 from an internet bidder.