The highly successful auction of English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations achieved just under £2.3 million. The top lot was the autograph manuscript of Samuel Beckett’s novel Murphy, one of the finest literary manuscripts to appear at auction in recent years (lot 300), which sold for £962,500. Other highlights included a series of exceptional results for original “Pooh” illustrations by E.H. Shepard, the top lot being “Bump, bump, bump – going up the stairs”, which achieved £129,700 (lot 377).
The highlight of the sale is the working manuscript of Murphy, Samuel Beckett’s first major work. Nearly 800 pages long, this is the most important manuscript of a complete novel by a modern British or Irish writer to appear at auction for many decades (£800,000 - 1,200,000). The sale also includes a range of other valuable printed books, letters and manuscripts, children’s books and illustrations. These range from some of the finest E.H. Shepard illustrations to come to the market in recent years and two unknown watercolours by Beatrix Potter to exceptional modern Irish literature, the last portrait of Nelson drawn from life, a Shakespeare Second Folio, and a remarkable group of journals on the Industrial Revolution.