Books and Manuscripts: A Summer Miscellany

Online Auction: 28 July–4 August 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London
Books and Manuscripts: A Summer Miscellany 28 July–4 August 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London

Sotheby’s is delighted to present Books and Manuscripts: A Summer Miscellany. As the title suggests the sale includes a unique presentation of a range of material including natural history, travel and science as well as a selection of literature and history.

Daniel Giraud Elliot was perhaps the most significant American ornithologist after Audubon, and his two greatest works, both printed in America, are represented by attractive copies in this section of the sale. His Monograph of the Phasianidae (lot 31) contains perhaps the best illustrations of pheasants ever made, on a par with the lithographs made under the auspices of his contemporary John Gould, whose book on the Trogons is also in the sale (lot 37). This part of the sale also includes fine atlases by Gerard Mercator (inventor of the term “atlas”, lot 48) and Abraham Ortelius (lot 52). There is also a fine cartographical work by Vincenzo Coronelli, most famous for building a pair of giant globes for Louis XIV, which are illustrated in his Atlante Veneto (lot 21). Other subjects covered include topography (notably a fine book of views of Venice by Carlevaris, lot 19), science (a fine, unrecorded letter by Charles Darwin on the voyage of the Beagle, lot 23), and medicine (a seventeenth-century book of remedies, lot 47).

The sale also includes a fine T.E. Lawrence collection assembled over many decades by Mr Alan Milne, including the US copyright edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the printer’s set of Proofs before letters of the illustrations for the 1926 Subscribers’ edition and 45 other lots. From a number of consignors, including the actor Steven Berkoff, come major Oscar Wilde property, including a letter outlining the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest, a presentation copy of the deluxe 1/100 first edition of the same work, and the authorial manuscript for “Confessions of Tastes, Habits and Convictions”. Other highlights a group of original “Cottingley Fairies” photographs (relating to one of the world greatest ever “Fairies” hoaxes, famously duping the creator of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), letters by Churchill and Gandhi, and first editions of key novels by Cervantes, Jane Austen and James Joyce.

The sale also includes a series of 17 manuscript lots relating to Israel, chiefly in Hebrew. These include letters and documents by leading Zionists such as Theodor Herzl, Israeli politicians including significant letters by David Ben Gurion, and cultural figures such as Chaim Bialik.

Travel, Maps, Natural History, Science and Medicine

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrated

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, revised typescript
Capote's final working typescript of his most famous story, providing extensive and detailed insight into the working method of a writer described by Norman Mailer, when reviewing Breakfast at Tiffany's, as "the most perfect writer of my generation, he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm".

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The Life of T.E. Lawrence
Holly Golightly: Capote’s Uncaged Bird
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A Spectacular Collection of Works by Oscar Wilde
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The Dinosaur Hunters: Mary Anning's Plesiosaurus
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