Our 15 May sale commences with the impressive Colin and Joan Deacon library of Travel and Exploration, with highlights including a rare coloured copy of John White's First Fleet narrative, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales (1790), and handsome copies of important works such as Mackenzie's pioneering Voyages from Montreal ... to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans (1801) and Stedman's Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796), the latter considered 'one of of the most detailed descriptions ever written of an 18th-century slave plantation society' (ODNB).
The Deacon library is supplemented by a number of outstanding Travel lots from other collections, notably a fine Colonial School watercolour of Bridgetown, Barbados (c.1830-50), a pair of rare colour lithographs after Samuel Gurney Cresswell depicting the fate of the 1850 McClure Arctic Expedition (c.1854), and an Abyssinian shield with provenance to Lord Napier of Magdala (c.1868). We are also pleased to offer for sale a fine collection of antique cattle and livestock prints, the working library of Dr Graham Alexander Webster OBE (1913-2001), one of the pre-eminent Romano-British archaeologists of his generation, and the cookery library of Birmingham grocer Tony Haynes (1944-2018), which includes a copy of Lady Judith Montefiore's Jewish Manual (1846), the first kosher cook-book in the English language.
A variety of rare and important works will also be found across our Antiquarian, British Topography, Antique Maps and Prints, and Natural History sections, including an extremely uncommon cordiform world map by Oronce Finé (1540), a copy of Henry Care's English Liberties (1682) - a work which was to prove of great consequence in the American colonies - and a superior example of a royal binding commissioned by King Charles II (lot 392).
This sale includes a collection of 200 British Campaign and Long Service medals from Waterloo to the present day including Distinguished Service Medals, Military Medals and other gallantry awards for WWI, together with a collection of awards to the Royal Flying Corps including an OBE, DFC (1st Type) group of 6 to Wing Commander Oliver Chance Cassels, 12 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force. Cassels received his Distinguished Flying Cross for service over France, his citations reads 'On 21st August this officer carried out a most successful artillery patrol lasting 3 ½ hours. He observed thirteen active hostile batteries, three of which were silenced. As an artillery pilot his work has been quite exceptional, and while engaged on this service he never hesitates to engage enemy aeroplanes as opportunity occurs' (London Gazette - 3 December 1918).
Other pilots include a WWI group of 3 to Captain Allan Higson Smith, MC, Lincolnshire Regiment Later 21st Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Smith received his Military Cross 'for most gallant and skilful work in connection with artillery. In one instance flying at 1,000 feet under heavy fire his information led to the destruction of two enemy batteries. On another occasion he flew under heavy clouds for two hours at 600 feet, sending down information. His machine was repeatedly hit. He has set a fine example' (London Gazette - 25 August 1916). Smith flew almost daily for ten months over the Somme and was tragically killed in action whilst serving with 21 Squadron on 21 August 1917.
IX Light Dragoons. A fine George III 1798 pattern Tarelton Helmet of the 9th Light Dragoons c.1815, the leather skull with velvet turban and bearskin crest, white metal mounts embossed 'IX Light Dragoons', the right hand side of the helmet with a crowned plant representing Scotland, England and Ireland with the motto 'Dieu Mon Droit' beneath leading to three chains, with a red and white plume and original cloth lining, approx. 33cm long, in remarkable condition for its age. This pattern of helmet was named after Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833). Tarleton commanded the British Legion during the American War of Independance (1775-1783) and the helmet is famously recorded in Joshua Reynolds painting of Sir Banastre Tarleton which is in the National Gallery, London. The 9th Light Dragoons served at throughout the Peninsula War and at the Battle of Waterloo.
For further information please contact Henry Meadows
+44 (0)1285 860006
The remarkable Ladwell library was assembled by two dedicated ornithologists and bibliophiles from southern England, who started collecting in the 1970s and finished in 2018 with their acquisition of volume 137 in the New Naturalist series.
What began as an agreeable diversion on bird-watching holidays soon developed into a serious interest; a significant collection began to take shape, covering the avifauna of every continent and ranging from major works of 19th-century natural history to indispensable modern reference books, with an emphasis on copies in exceptional condition and fine bindings, often enhanced by an illustrious provenance.
The first instalment of 75 lots was sold in these rooms on 6 March 2019, with highlights including fine copies of H. E. Dresser’s Birds of Europe (£7,000) and his monographs on the Meropidae (£8,000) and Coraciidae (£3,600), Henry Seebohm’s account of the family Turdidae (£7,500), and Henry, Duke of Gloucester’s copy of White’s Selborne in red morocco gilt by Ramage (£2,200).
The second instalment, to be sold on 19 June, will contain further illustrated monographs including G. E. Shelley’s account of the Nectariniidae (estimate £2,000-3000), Sclater’s work on the jacamars and puff-birds (£1,000-1,500), and the extra-limited issue of H. Kirke Swann’s Synopsis of the Accipitres, one of 12 copies only (£2,000-3,000), together with a variety of important ornithological treatises not in English dating back to the 18th century, fine copies of Victorian county faunas, and more. A third instalment will be sold on 11 September.
For further information please contact Dominic Somerville-Brown
+44 (0)1285 860006
Always a strong sale, this summer we are offering a number of highly desirable literary first editions, one of the highlights being a signed set of Lord of the Rings, with an interesting provenance. The set belonged to David Smith, bibliophile and well-known authority on bees, who co-authored the standard bibliography British Bee Books. Each volume bears his bookplate as well as the signature of Tolkien, and accompanying documentation, including an autograph postcard signed from Tolkien, explains how David Smith and his friend Anthony Wood visited the author in his rooms at Merton College, Oxford, where they discussed the trilogy and each had their set signed. David Smith’s set, consisting of early impressions (5th, 5th and 3rd respectively), is in fine cloth with lightly handled dust jackets, and is being offered with an estimate of £7,000-10,000.
Other notable examples of modern literature in the sale include: a first edition in dust jacket of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, 1938, as well as her scarce second novel I’ll Never Be Young Again, published in 1932, also in the dust jacket; first editions of Uncommon Danger, by Eric Ambler and Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, both published in 1937, and each in the dust jacket; the signed and limited edition of Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot, published in 1930; and three signed and limited Virginia Woolf items, namely Kew Gardens (1927, signed also by Vanessa Bell), Beau Brummell (1930) and On Being Ill (Hogarth Press, 1930).
The sale also features a selection of autograph material, including 24 Enid Blyton letters, written in the 1930s and 1940s, three autograph letters by George Orwell, and a letter from Charles Lamb.
As usual there is an offering of early children’s books, including the rare first bookform edition of Le Avventure di Pinnochio by Carlo Collodi (pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini), published in Florence in 1883. Our copy is in the publisher’s original red cloth binding, and has an interesting provenance, being originally owned by Leone Fenzi, the brother of Ida Copeland (née Fenzi, 1881-1964) who became a Conservative MP and won the Stoke seat against Oswald Mosley in 1931. The volume has been passed by descent to the current owner, and is estimated at £6,000-8,000.
Finally, amongst other artwork, we are pleased to be able to offer a number of original pieces by prolific illustrator Andrew Skilleter (born 1948), known particularly for his Narnia and Doctor Who illustrations. The nine works, which are being sold direct from the artist’s studio, comprise four audio cassette covers for BBC Radio 4’s adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, dramatised by Brian Sibley, and five covers for the classic series The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, published by The Bodley Head in 1992. Paintings by Andrew Skilleter have been exhibited in London and across the UK, including at The Association of Illustrators, and numerous pieces of his work are to be found in private collections in the UK as well as globally.
We are delighted to present the major private collection of fine books, prints and paintings belonging to Martin Orskey (1926-2019) for sale by auction, consisting of almost 400 lots of rare books, and over 50 English paintings and rare prints. Martin, ubiquitous across the book trade for well over half a century, had an exceptional ability to sniff out the most interesting and rare of items, and it is hard not to feel that with his passing comes the end of an era.
The sale consists of an eclectic mix of science and medicine, travel and topography, natural history, gastronomy, early education, printing and other trades, but each item was invariably chosen by Martin for his own personal collection for some reason of rarity, condition or particular interest. Notable items are The Husbandman’s Fruitfull Orchard (1609), a rare early trade catalogue of metalwork (circa 1800), Campbell’s North America (1793), a finely bound set of Grose’s Antiquities, Manby’s Journal of a Voyage to Greenland (1822), a Catalogue of Sheffield Plate (circa 1800), Wilkes’s Moths (1773), Edwards’ Natural History of Uncommon Birds, a number of early children’s books, a rare gingerbread mould in the shape of a hornbook, and an illuminated Book of Hours. Martin had a sense of fun and an eye for the quirky, so it is not surprising to find such titles as Benefit of Farting (1722) and The Whore’s Rhetorik (1683) nestling amongst the more scholarly rarities.
The paintings and prints, all of which were displayed to advantage in the Orskey household, demonstrate a few strong themes, namely naïve art, domestic architecture, dogs and natural history. Not surprisingly there are also several pieces on the theme of books and the trade. A large Naïve School oil painting of seven dogs is particularly impressive, and another in similar style, depicting a girl with a spaniel, is also bound to be particularly sought after. A number of small paintings of country houses, some of the Regency period, are of more modest value, but are nonetheless charming in style and detail.
Martin was a familiar face at Dominic Winter and was one of our first 100 clients. He expressed a wish many years ago that he wanted his library to be dispersed here, for others to experience the thrill of buying and the enjoyment of owning, as he had.
For further information please contact John Trevers or Susanna Winters
+44 (0)1285 860006