S otheby’s is thrilled to present for sale an exceptional collection of natural history books from The Library of Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven. The collection includes exquisitely illustrated works on ornithology and botany, mammalogy and entomology, by authors including John James Audubon, Pierre-Joseph Redouté, John Gould and John Abbot.
Such remarkable collections rarely come to the market, instead remaining myths in the book world. The genesis of the Fairhaven Library is, in itself, the stuff of legends. The first Lord Fairhaven's grandfather, Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840 -1909), began his professional life by selling paraffin in the local market in Fairhaven, Massachusetts—an ocean away from Anglesey Abbey. In 1861, Rogers turned his attention from paraffin to Pennsylvania, where oil had been discovered two years before. In 1874, Rogers sold his operation to John D. Rockefeller, and it became a part of Standard Oil. Rogers stayed on as a director, and eventually became vice president in 1890. By his death in 1909, he had amassed a staggering fortune of $100 million.
In 1895, Roger's recently widowed daughter, Cara, met Urban Broughton, a British civil engineer, who had been sent to the United States as a representative of the hydro-pneumatic sewerage system of Isaac Shone. Urban and Cara quickly fell in love and were married in November of 1895. Their first son, Huttleston, was born in 1896, and Henry in 1900. The Broughtons remained in the United States until 1912. When they settled in England, Urban served as a Conservative MP for Preston from 1915 until 1928, and, in the same fashion as his father-in-law, used his wealth and influence for the public good. His philanthropy was recognized with a peerage. Sadly, however, Urban died in 1929, before the title could be conferred. Instead, it passed directly to his widow and to his eldest son.
In 1926, Huttleston, 1st Baron Fairhaven, and Henry, 2nd Baron Fairhaven, purchased the Anglesey Abbey estate, primarily for shooting. They agreed that whoever married first should sell his share in the estate to the other. Thus, when Henry wed Diana Fellowes in 1932, the 1st Lord Fairhaven became the sole owner of Anglesey Abbey, and set about cultivating the impressive gardens and other facets of the estate. Not to be outdone by his brother, Henry amassed one of the most important collections of botanical art in the world. He bought Bakeham House, near Windsor, and later South Walsham Hall, Norfolk. The Abbey was left to the National Trust upon Huttleston’s death in 1966, and Henry’s renowned collection of art was donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, collection to the Museum upon his death in 1973.
The magnificent present collection of natural history books was acquired between the years of 1927 and 1960. It is a testament to Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven’s connoisseurship, and many of the titles, such as Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands... and John James Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, also offer a nod to his American roots.
The Library of Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven Part I
John Gould was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, the son of John Gould, a gardener, and his wife Elizabeth Clatworthy. Gould's training was as a taxidermist rather than an artist, and in 1828 he was appointed animal preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London. About this time there appeared at the museum a collection of birds formed principally in the north-west Himalayas, the first of any size to reach Europe. The richness of this group of specimens spurred Gould to compile his first folio volume, A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains (see lots 83 and 84). This book heralded a body of work unrivalled in Victorian natural history, comprising forty-one volumes and over 3000 plates, produced over six decades. As Gould grew more successful, the lithographed plates became more ambitious; his later book The Birds of Great Britain (lot 93) shows many of its subjects against charming and picturesque backgrounds absent from his earlier work.
Gould himself did not execute finished drawings for any of his works, but he did provide rough pencil or watercolour sketches with notes for his artists to work from, and was the moving spirit behind the grand conception of the plates. The artists he employed - including his wife Elizabeth, Edward Lear, Joseph Wolf, Henry Richter, and Joseph Hart - were among the most accomplished of their generation.
Although today we remember Gould primarily for the outstanding beauty of his folios, during his long career, he was at the forefront of ornithological and evolutionary science - his role in identifying different species of tanager brought back by Darwin from the voyage of the Beagle was central to the development of the theory of natural selection.