This sale included a wide range of material with exceptional provenance and of outstanding quality. The top bids for books were £320,750 for a unique extra-illustrated first edition of the monumental Description de l’Egypte and £272,750 for the Dutch edition of Johannes Blaeu’s atlas. A fine hand-coloured susbcriber’s copy of David Robert’s Holy Land & Egypt sold for £150,000. The sale also included an extensive collection of over 1,300 19th-century photographs of Palestine which sold for £248,750. An unexpected result was achieved for an album of drawings and watercolours which contained two early photographs by Willian Henry Fox Talbot, including a photogenic drawing negative of a fern, which realised £56,250. Also included was a fine collection of original watercolour drawings for Selby’s Illustrations of British Ornithology which brought a total of £58,125.
This sale contains books, manuscripts, maps, and historical photographs from around the world, including the two greatest books on Egypt: David Roberts’s Holy Land & Egypt (a rare hand-coloured subscriber’s copy), and a first edition of the monumental Description de l’Egypte. Egypt is also represented in a very scarce book, La Vallée du Nil, illustrated with over 100 original photographs taken in 1860 by Henry Cammas, the protégé of the Orientalist and explorer Koenig Bey, to whom this copy is inscribed. The natural history section includes eight original drawings by the ornithologist Prideaux John Selby, and among the atlases on offer is an immaculate 3-volume edition of Jansson’s Nouveau Theatre du Monde. The sale also includes a large collection of photographs of Palestine, to be sold as a single lot.