O ur December sale presents an exceptional range of 19th and 20th century books and manuscripts, including fine inscribed first editions by Orwell, Fleming, Dickens and Tolkien, children’s and illustrated works by Potter, Barrie, Milne, Lewis and White, and important letters by Chaim Weizmann, John Betjemann, Queen Victoria, John Ruskin and Albert Einstein.
Signed works by Ian Fleming, Friedrich von Hayek, Winston Churchill and J.K. Rowling are included, as well as a scarce copy of the Beano No. 1, an exceptional archive of Oskar Schindler’s personal letters and possessions, an important World War I fund-raising autograph manuscript album, and Lionel Jeffries’ annotated shooting script of The Railway Children.
Particularly strong are the artistic offerings, including William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, the Grimm fairy tales illustrated by David Hockney, an inscribed copy of Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, and rare Kay Nielsen and Louis Wain watercolours. Charming drawings by Ronald Searle, H.M. Bateman, Marc Boxer, Gerard Hoffnung and Michael Ffolkes are presented, as well as an intimate album containing early watercolours by Laura Knight and manuscripts by Picasso, Matisse and Monet.
William Blake’s illuminated books were the great triumph of his unique genius, weaving the arts of illustration, engraving, and poetry into a complex unity. Original copies of his great works such as are exceptionally rare, and this December we are privileged to offer a rare copy of Blake’s poetic masterpiece, Songs of Innocence and of Experience. This is one of 16 known copies printed from Blake’s original plates by his friend and follower Frederick Tatham in about 1832, several years after his death in 1827. Every copy of the book is different and this copy, with 54 etchings, is unusually complete. It is also exceptionally well preserved, making it is a wonderful testament to Blake art as an engraver.