English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations
Online Auction: 1–8 December 2020 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations 1–8 December 2020 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

T his sale is a typically capacious offering of books and manuscripts in nearly 230 lots, its rich variety of highlights ranging from leaves from the first book printed in Scotland to a celebration of Ferrari design.


Early Printed Books & Manuscripts

The sale opens with a fine selection of early printed books and manuscripts, much of it from the exceptional library at Downside Abbey, including a 15th century illuminated manuscript of The Pricking of Love, whilst important highlights from other collections include an exceptionally rare autograph manuscript poem by Daniel Defoe.

Science & History

This is followed by a section of science and history, which includes many of the greatest highlights of this sale, most notably notes by Isaac Newton on the secrets of the Pyramids, but also a copy of Darwin’s rare first separate publication, Letters to Henslow, Hayek’s Road to Serfdom inscribed in Karl Popper, and much else.

Lot 61, NEWTON Autograph manuscript notes on the Great Pyramid and other subjects, c.1680s, £280,000-400,000

Isaac Newton On The Great Pyramid

The pyramids at Giza are not just the greatest architectural marvels that survive of the ancient world: to Newton, as to many others, they were a key that could unlock profound secrets. The Great Pyramid could help him glean an understanding of Biblical prophecy; it could lead him to a knowledge of the timing of the Apocalypse; he also is likely to have hoped that it could provide the proof for his Theory of Gravity. MANUSCRIPTS BY NEWTON TOUCHING ON SO MANY ASPECTS OF HIS PROGRAMME OF STUDY - FROM GRAVITY TO THE APOCALYPSE - ARE EXCEPTIONALLY RARE ON THE MARKET. Although fragmentary and damaged by fire, these unpublished notes are of great interest.

Modern Literature And Illustrations

Finally, the sale includes a wealthy of English Literature of more modern periods. There is an extensive Dickens collection (including a presentation copy of A Christmas Carol), one of the finest Beardsley illustrations to come to market in recent years, and important series of letters by Edward Lear, W.B. Yeats, and C.S. Lewis.

Jack B. Yeats & W.B. Yeats


Available For Private Sale

PICKERING, WILLIAM Substantial collection of upwards of over 530 of the best works published and designed by the celebrated nineteenth-century publisher William Pickering (1796-1854)

Asking Price: 350,000 GBP

See More

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

Sell with Sotheby's

Sell with Sotheby's

Curious to know if your item is suitable for one of our upcoming sales?

Provide information and share images to request an online estimate now.

Start Selling
Close