Music, Continental Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Online Auction: 24 November–1 December 2020 • 2:00 PM GMT • London
Music, Continental Books and Medieval Manuscripts 24 November–1 December 2020 • 2:00 PM GMT • London

The sale is structured as follows:

Music, lots 1-70
Medieval Manuscripts and Miniatures, lots 71-77
Continental Manuscripts, lots 78-82
Continental Books, including science, medicine and Russian books, lots 83-117

Bidding closes on Tuesday 1 December 2020


T here are 70 lots of music, the highlights being four exceptionally fine autograph letters by Beethoven (lot 10), Schubert (lot 62), Mendelssohn (lot 34) and Gluck (lot 25), from a distinguished European collection.

Most significant among the non-musical letters is an illustrated series of over sixty by Hermann Hesse to Stefan Zweig (lot 82) and ten by Carlo Goldoni (lot 81).

The sale includes an exceptionally important long-lost Flemish illumination, unpublished except for a 1911 auction catalogue, from the famous collection of Adalbert Freiherr von Lanna (1836-1909), of Prague, and with unbroken provenance from 1913 to the present owner. This gorgeous painting on parchment seems always to have been intended as a free-standing devotional image, an impression that is supported by its large size, c. 280 × 190mm. (11½ × 8½ inches) (lot 74).

Other manuscript items include a fine illuminated book of hours of the Use of Reims (lot 77), a miniature by Fray Andrés de León (Madrid, c. 1570; lot 76) and an Armenian gospel book (lot 78).

The earliest printed book in the sale is a copy on paper of the first printing of the Pentateuch in Hebrew (Bologna, 1482; lot 86), an incomplete but crisp copy which has been marked up by a professional scribe for use in preparing the text to be copied as a scroll. This rare work contains the first printing of a Hebrew text with the cantillation signs included in the typeface.

Other interesting and uncommon works include Casanova’s translation of the Iliad into Italian (lot 103), a Russian translation of Sheridan’s School for Scandal which was performed in St Petersburg in 1793 (lot 114), a copy of Trotsky’s vindication Not Guilty with a presentation inscription from Trotsky to the president of Mexico (lot 115), and the first printing of Hildegard of Bingen’s work on medical receipts (Strassburg, 1533; lot 102), bound with Albucasis on surgery (Strassburg, 1532).

Modern texts include fine illustrated works by Braque (lot 95) and Derain’s Pantagruel (lot 112), along with the key Bauhaus book (lot 100) and Salvador Dalí’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy (lot 93).

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