Thursday, August 27, 2015

Antiquarian News

Bob Dylan

In 1962, in a small room above the legendary Gaslight Folk Club in Greenwich Village, New York, the 21-year-old Bob Dylan, hunched at a typewriter, wrote what is widely considered one of the greatest songs in the history of rock music. 53 years later, the original type-written manuscript for the revolutionary, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, has emerged for sale at Sotheby's in London, where it is estimated to sell for £150,000-200,000. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as "the greatest protest song by the greatest protest songwriter of his time", the song marks a key artistic breakthrough by the most influential songwriter alive today.

The lyrics will be auctioned as part Sotheby's "Rock & Pop" sale in London on the 29th September 2015.

The key works of Dylan's canon have invited debate for decades, but there is a consensus that A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall represents the first full blossom of Dylan as poet. It was the Greenwich Village folk scene that provided the environment which enabled Dylan to stretch his imagination in new and startling ways, and this draft comes from the heart of that scene. The folksinger Tom Paxton recalls the origins of the song:

"there was a hide-out room above The Gaslight where we could hang out. Once Dylan was banging out this long poem on Wavy Gravy's typewriter. He showed me the poem and I asked, 'Is this a song?' He said, 'No, it's a poem.' I said, 'All this work and you're not going to add a melody?"

It is noteworthy that Paxton recalls that Dylan described the version he saw as a poem, not a song, and Dylan's own comments on the song's origin also suggest that it began life as a poem. Although most likely earlier performed at the Gaslight, the song was formally premiered at the Carnegie Hall on September 22, 1962, as part of a hootenanny organised by the folk singer Pete Seeger.

Seeger recalled: "I had to announce to all the singers, 'Folks, you're gonna be limited to three songs. No more. Cause we each have ten minutes apiece.' And Bob raised his hand and said, 'What am I supposed to do? One of my songs is ten minutes long'." Recorded in a single take on December 6, 1962, the version that appears on Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, comes in at 6 minutes and 55 seconds.

Actor Intervenes in Sale

Sir Daniel Day-Lewis has intervened in the sale of some personal mementos at Dreweatts  Bloomsbury Auctions, which included scrapbooks which he had used to prepare for film roles. Lewis was said to be appalled that a number of his possessions were to go under the hammer. According to the auction house the items had come from a private collector who had obtained them in a house clearance.

The Autographs & Memorabilia auction scheduled for 4 September 2015, has now withdrawn the disputed items from the sale.

Auction #45 is an online auction site dedicated to the sale of rare and out-of print books, maps & prints, documents, letters, ephemera and vintage photography.
All pricing is done in US$. No buyer's premium is charged.

Some Highlights:

Lot 15 Carroll, Lewis. (The Rev Charles Dodgson):
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. & Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.
Tenniel, John. Illustrates. Published: Macmillan & Co., London 1866 & 1872. First Edition Both volumes are beautifully illustrated throughout, with 42 and 50 line engravings respectively, by John Tenniel. Bright, clean copies, finely bound, by Bayntun-Riviere of Bath, in recent full deep red morocco.
Estimate: $13,500

Lot 16 Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
Published: Bloomsbury, London, 1998 First Edition.
First Edition. 8vo. 1st impression with correct number sequence of 10 down to 1 on copyright page. Fine copy of the second Harry Potter book in a fine dust wrapper which reproduces the design on the boards and features colour illustrations by Cliff Wright.
Estimate: $2,500

Lot 11Lot 11 Signed First Edition of "Lady Chatterley's Lover"
Lawrence. D. H.: Lady Chatterley's Lover.
Published: Privately Printed., Florence, Italy, 1928 First Edition. Large 8vo. (9.1 x 6.7 inches).
Limited Edition. One of 1000 numbered copies, signed by Lawrence on the limitation page.
Printed at the Tipografia Giuntina in Florence, under the direction of L. Franceschini, for Lawrence, and at his own expense, the book was offered for sale in the spring of 1928 for the price of Two Pounds. The fears of Police raids and the imminent suppression of the book in both England and America saw Lawrence selling the last copies for Four pounds by December that year and ordering another edition, of only 200 copies on common paper, from the printers.
The literary merits of Lawrence's novel have been the subject of much debate but, like it or not, the book proved to be a hugely important work in the battle against censorship.
Estimate: $5,000

Lot 28 James Cook & Captain Furnaux
A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World – Cook's Second Voyage
Performed in His Majesty's Ships the RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE in the Years 1772, 1773, 1774 and 1775. Published: W. Strahan & T. Cadell, London, 1777
First Edition. A superb set of Cook's Second Voyage. 2 Vols. 4to. 376pp. and 396pp.
First edition of Cook's second voyage on which he was directed to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible to search for any southern continent. Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilization and by the foundation of British Australia. The world was given for the first time an essentially complete knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and Australia, and Cook proved once and for all that there was no great southern continent, as had always been believed. This is a very sharp clean superior copy without any tears or repairs. The wonderful engraved plates are all bright and attractive.
Estimate: $6,500-8,000

Antiquarian Auctions: Paul Mills P.O. Box 186 7848 Constantia, Cape Town South Africa
E-mail: Tel: +27 21 794 0600

New Technology Looks at the Past

Fragile items of parchment which are difficult to study because of their susceptibility to contamination may be made easier to read now that some Norwegian researchers have developed ‘high-tech’ tools to unlock the hidden secrets.

Scholars from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Gunnerus Library are using a new technique called ‘hyperspectral imaging’ to determine the chemical composition of the pigments used in ancient manuscripts.

According to Emilio Catelli, a PhD candidate at the department of chemistry: “Whole pages may be scanned and analysed in a matter of minutes with this technology.”

Hyperspectral imaging uses a hyperspectral camera to scan the document. Advanced cameras can differentiate between 160 colours and have 1,600 pixel sensors. The cameras are good for studying items where details and colour pigments that were previously impossible to see are now made visible because of the high spectral resolution.

Strangely one of the shelves at the Gunnerus Library is home to a small book with a brown spine. The book belongs to Sigrid Undset, who was a Norwegian novelist, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Catelli is currently working on analysing the book's pages. 


More Stunning Items from Bergé

In 2009 Christie’s held a sale of art – which fetched $484 million – of the collection of Pierre Bergé and his partner Yves Saint Laurent. During 2016 and 2017 there will be two more sales but the first is in Paris: this time of books, manuscripts and musical scores from the personal library of Bergé. The works date from 15th to 20th century. The first sale, organised by Pierre Bergé Associés in association with Sotheby’s will be held at Hôtel Drouet on 11 December 2015. This first part of the library will include works from the first edition of St Augustine’s “Confessions,” printed in Strasbourg circa 1470, a rare third edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,” printed in Lisbon in 1600 and William Burroughs’s Scrap Book 3, published in 1979.

An autographed first edition of Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” from 1857 is estimated to fetch between €400,000 and €600,000; William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, printed in London in 1664 could reach as much as €200,000 to €300,000; and an autographed manuscript of the Marquis de Sade’s last novel The Days of Florbelle from 1807 is estimated at also between €200,000 and €300,000.

To preview the sale, a selection of about 60 works will form a mobile exhibition beginning at Sotheby’s in New York from 10-13 September, followed by showcases in Hong Kong from 2-7 October and London from 6-9 November.

The thematic sales to follow in 2016 and 2017 will feature literary and works on botany, gardening, music and the exploration of major philosophical and political ideas.

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