English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations Online
Online Auction: 5–12 May 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations Online 5–12 May 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London

O ur May online sale features a compelling mix of material, from one of the most important and influential of all English travel books (Samuel Purchas’s Pilgrimes, of 1625/6), to very rare working lyrics for one of Bob Dylan’s key songs from his brilliant Blonde on Blonde album of the mid-1960s. Other cultural highlights include: a rare inscribed copy of the script for one of the greatest movies ever made (The Third Man, 1949, signed by the legendary actor Orson Welles, alongside the famous “Cuckoo Clock” speech which was his unique improvised addition to Greene’s screenplay), and a small archive belonging to Stanley Kubrick’s would be assistant director Andrew Birkin for his ultimately unrealized film project Napoleon, often termed ‘the greatest movie never made’.

This is supported by a mix of first editions from the golden ages of detective and spy fiction, letters and other fascinating material by and about Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde, a lovely preparatory watercolour for the character of ‘The Drunkard’ from Saint-Exupéry’s celebrated The Little Prince, and much more besides.

Featured Highlights
Samuel Purchas
Estimate: 30,000 – 50,000 GBP
Purchas his Pilgrims, 1625, Estimate £30,000–50,000
The Pilgrimes (lot 115, 5 volumes) of Samuel Purchas (c.1577-1626) is one of the greatest of all English travel books, a large folio work which took more than three years to print, and which was at the time the largest ever book published on an English press. Containing fine maps of China, Greenland and North America it is a continuation of Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations, which came into the hands of Purchas in about 1620.
Manuscripts and Autograph Letters

Letters can connect us in a unique and intimate way to great figures of the past, whether it be Oscar Wilde giving his thoughts on parody, Churchill saluting a former fighter ace, Lawrence of Arabia opining on book production, or the future George IV writing dutifully to his tutor.

Modern First Editions


There is a thrill in original illustrations which have been reproduced countless times. We include a preliminary drawing by Saint-Exupery for a popular and cherished children’s book.

Children's Books

Children’s Books range from illustrated classics (Arthur Rackham and Beatrix Potter) to narrative favourites (Hugh Lofting and P.L. Travers). Many are from interesting collections, including the library of John Gielgud.

Bob Dylan, Lyrical GeniusSotheby's upcoming English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations Online sale features lyrics to a song by Bob Dylan.


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