Thursday, October 13, 2016

Antiquarian Book News

British Library

To mark the Maps and the 20th century exhibition, the Library is presenting a series of events examining the significance of maps in conflict resolution and history, as well as the importance of maps in fiction, folk and fairytale. Speakers include the former BBC correspondent Kate Adie, geographer Danny Dorling and author and historian Christian Wolmar.  

In the Entrance Hall, the Victorian entertainments exhibition, ‘There will be fun’, takes the attendee on a weird and wonderful trip into a bygone era of magic, hypnotism and circus. Every Saturday between 15 October and 17 December, a troupe of performers will pay homage to the performers featured in the exhibition as they entertain and mystify visitors to the Library and on 25 November, the performer Christopher Green will create a special ‘Late at the Library’ with newly commissioned comedy, burlesque and live art.

>From 14 October, the Library’s shop will be transformed into the elegantly chilling set of a 1930s country house, tying in with the latest publication from the Crime Classics series, The Poisoned Chocolates Case. In the months leading up to Christmas, Library visitors will be able to buy gifts for crime fiction aficionados and lovers of what is known as the “golden age of detective fiction”, renowned for its sophistication and wit.


Fine Photographs

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are pleased to announce their Fine Photographs auction which will take place on 20th October at 2pm at Bloomsbury House, 24 Maddox Street, London W1S 1PP. Estimates range from £500 to £15,000.


Included in the sale and following a hugely successful retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum recently, are four photographs by British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879). Cameron, who suffered criticism for her unconventional photography techniques, often produced photographs that were either intentionally out of focus or complete with scratches, smudges and other markers of the development process.  Known for exploring Arthurian and other legendary themes in her photographs, Cameron was also recognised for her portraits of celebrities. Included is a mesmerising portrait of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was her neighbour on the Isle of Wight. This photograph, given the title Dirty Monk, by Tennyson himself carries an attractive estimate of £1,000 - £1,500 (Lot 24). Other photographs by Cameron for sale include portraits of popular Victorian artist and sculptor George Frederic Watts R.A., (Lot 25, Est: £1,000 - £1,500), her maid Mary Hillier posing as Sappho (Lot 22, Est: £1,500 - £2,000), and her daughter in law Mrs Ewen Hay Cameron as the Turkish character Zuleika whose illicit love for her half-brother ended in tragedy (Lot 23, Est £1,500 - £2,000).

 A further highlight is a selection of approximately 535 photographs of views of London. The pictures were taken between 1946 and 1953 for Westminster council by over 50 photographers, bringing to life 1940s and 1950s London through shots of the iconic landmarks that shape the city such as Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, amongst others. The photographs offer a fascinating insight into the changes that have taken place in London over the past 50 years. This selection of London Views carries an estimate of £400 - £600 (Lot 51).


Fourteen Presidential Signatures on a Single Page at Swann Galleries' Fall Autographs Auction

On Tuesday, November 1, Swann Auction Galleries will hold a sale of Autographs, with an emphasis on American political signatures in a nod to the upcoming presidential election.

A Civil War-era album in the sale, originally signed by dozens of important political and military figures of the period, also contains an astounding page signed by fourteen U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and both Roosevelts. Additional presidential signatures—Bill Clinton, Andrew Johnson and Barack Obama—are on a following spread (Grant signed elsewhere). Other notable signers of the album include P.T. Barnum, Charles Sumner, Schuyler Colfax and George Armstrong Custer. The album was discovered in the 1950s and subsequently maintained by Manuscript Society president Herbert Klingelhofer (1915-2015). Spanning 1864 to 2010, this album is estimated to sell for $60,000 to $90,000.

Further American political autographs include a Document Signed by Benjamin Franklin, 1785, ordering Treasurer David Rittenhouse to pay £15,000 to the Trustees of the General Loan Office ($5,000 to $7,500); a Clipped Signature by Abraham Lincoln, likely removed from a check and mounted to the edge of an Autograph Letter Signed by his son, Robert Todd Lincoln, 1878 ($4,000 to $6,000); several Partly-printed Documents Signed by George Washington, including the 1783 military discharge of Edward Keyser ($7,000 to $10,000). Three Typed Letters Signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt concerning Henry R. Luce, other publishers and personal topics between 1940 and 1944 ($3,500 to $5,000) are also in the sale, as well as a 1791 Congressional Printed Document Signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, representing the first act in which Vermont is referred to as a state ($10,000 to $15,000). No sale of autographs would be complete without examples of the most famous ‘John Hancock’ of all: John Hancock’s iconic signature is on a 1781 Document Signed appointing a Joseph Fisk as Surgeon of the First Regiment of Foot ($3,500 to $5,000).

Signatures by foreign rulers include a Letter Signed from Empress Catherine the Great in 1766, congratulating the Crown Princess of Courland on her marriage ($3,000 to $4,000), and a Letter Signed from Napoleon Bonaparte expressing concern that General Miollio’s troops might not receive sufficient nourishment, 1797 ($4,000 to $6,000).

Artists, both literary and visual, abound. An Autograph Letter Signed from Claude Monet to his friend Gustave Geffroy in 1891 inviting the latter to visit the artist in his garden in Giverny is expected to fetch $6,000 to $9,000. Ephemera from Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, includes an Autograph Manuscript Signed for the title page for Appendix to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, circa 1889 ($5,000 to $7,500). Also available is John Ruskin’s personalized album of cards sent to him on the occasion of his 64th birthday in 1883; over eighty people wrote to Ruskin, including Walter Sickert and Oscar Wilde. Ruskin Birthday Book is expected to sell between $10,000 and $15,000.

Nineteenth and twentieth century scientists are well represented, especially Albert Einstein. Of special note is Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist by Paul Arthur Schilpp and signed by the illustrious subject in 1949 is expected to sell for $3,500 to $5,000. A Photograph Signed by Neil Armstrong in his space suit is expected to fetch $1,000 to $2,000.

Fans of classical music will be pleased by a healthy selection of autographs, many on sheet music. An Autograph Musical Quotation by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Signed, dated and accompanied by two bars from his Prelude in C sharp minor (1919) is guided at $3,000 to $4,000. Further selections include an undated Autograph Note Signed from musician Robert Schumann to August Schmidt, introducing a fellow musician visiting from Amsterdam ($2,000 to $3,000), as well as an 1849-69 signed quotation by Louis Moreau Gottschalk on treble and bass clefs ($1,500 to $2,500). Further musicians include Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky and Guiseppe Verdi.

Also available is a Poster Signed by each member of The Beatles, with an inclusion by Ringo Starr over the shortest inkblot with his height, “5’ 7”, estimated to sell for $4,000 to $6,000.

The auction will be held Tuesday, November 1, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Friday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, October 29 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Swann Autographs Specialist Marco Tomaschett at 212-254-4710, extension 12 or


The George Hadfield Reference Library

Thomson, Roddick & Medcalf Book Auction – 20th October Carlisle

George and Jill Hadfield are retiring after some fifty years in the antique clock and watch trade.  During this time, based in Cumbria, they have established a world-renowned business with George focusing on the sale, repair and restoration of fine antique clocks and Jill concentrating on the bookselling aspects of the horological business.

George's reference library will be offered for sale by the book auction department of Thomson, Roddick and Medcalf in Carlisle on Thursday 20th October.

A particular feature of the collection is that very many are in fine half calf or morocco bindings with marbled boards; thus combining utility with distinguished bookshelf appearance.

Amongst the titles in the 85 lot Hadfield collection are R.C.R. Barder, The Georgian Bracket Clock; Theodore Crom, Horological and Other Shop Tools; Maxwell Craven on John Whitehurst of Derby and Thomas Reid's Treatise on Clock and Watch Making.  Inevitably, there is a good selection of works on regional and local clockmakers including A.J. Moore, The Clockmakers of Somerset and J.B. Penfold, The Clockmakers of Cumberland.

There are 340 lots of books in the sale altogether.  These are on a wide range of subjects and include a large collection of books, pamphlets and related items on archaeology, topography and antiquarian subjects.  These are from the library of a North of England antiquarian and historian and include much Yorkshire and Lancashire local history. 

The sale is on Thursday 20th October at 12.00 noon.  Viewing is on Wednesday 19th, 10am to 5pm and on the day of sale from 9am.  Catalogues at


More from the British Library

In a new partnership with the Royal Society of Literature, the British Library will host a celebration of 25 years of the Forward Poetry Prize with poets Don Paterson, Liz Berry and Jackie Kay, a discussion with the novelist Ali Smith, and a panel discussion on race and immigration, convened by the journalist Razia Iqbal and featuring the novelist Nikesh Shukla, who recently compiled a crowd-funded book of essays, The Good Immigrant.

There will also be a celebration of the writer Angela Carter the children’s author Michael Murpurgo. Ian Rankin is also to come to the Library to discuss the publication of his 21st ‘Inspector Rebus’ novel and the enduring appeal of the Rebus character. The Library is also hosting the 2016 pen Pinter Prize which will celebrate the writer, Margaret Atwood.
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