Dominic Winter Auctioneers are delighted to offer the second instalment in the Natural History Library of David Wilson, following a highly successful first outing on 27-28 May. Our September sale will be another two-day affair, and will also include an exceptionally well-preserved library of antiquarian Spanish books and manuscripts (the Albizu collection), and an array of early English and Continental books, maps and atlases, rare prints, British topographical books, and antiquarian and modern books on art.
Highlights from the Wilson library include a fine set of John Gould’s Birds of Great Britain in superb contemporary full morocco gilt (estimate £15,000-£25,000), a rare deluxe set of William Daniell’s Voyage Round Great Britain (£5,000-£8,000) with the plates on card, and a handsome copy of G. E. Shelley’s splendid Monograph of the Nectariniidae (£3,000-£5,000).
The earliest book in the sale is a copy of William Lyndwood’s Constitutiones provinciales ecclesiae Anglicanae, printed at Westminster by Wynkyn de Worde in 1499. An English incunable and one of seven copies known, its appearance is a major event in the world-wide book auction calendar, and it is offered with an estimate of £4,000-£6,000, alongside various important 16th- and 17th-century books including Ramon Sibiuda’s Theologia Naturalis (Strasbourg, 1501) in contemporary pigskin (£800-£1,200), and John Evelyn’s copy of Thomas Carew’s Poems bound with William Davenant’s Gondibert (both 1651), estimate £1,500-£2,000.
A book of similar rarity to Lyndwood but printed several centuries later and a few miles up the Thames is William H. Timms’s Select Views of the Borough of Reading (1823, estimate £1,500-£2,000). Illustrated with twelve fine hand-coloured aquatints, it is otherwise unknown on the market and only one other is identified in libraries, at Yale. Some 150 years before Timms, one John Smith was teaching his compatriots The Art of Painting in Oyl; few copies seem to have survived the artist’s studio, and a 1687 second edition is offered for £400-£600. One of several books in the sale from the private collection of the late bookseller John Lawson (1932-2019), it will be accompanied by a variety of other art books from the 17th to the 20th centuries, including a copy of David Hockney’s Alphabet (1991), one of 250 copies signed by Hockney and contributors including Stephen Spender, Doris Lessing and Kazuo Ishiguro (£1,200-£1,800).
The Albizu collection of Spanish books and manuscripts focuses on the Americas and the Philippines. Gaspar Elordi Albizu (1804-1852) was a lawyer and diputada for Navarra in the Spanish Cortes at the time of the First Carlist War, and a dedicated supporter of Queen Isabella II. In 1839 he was appointed Fiscal de la Audiencia de Manila where he remained until obliged to leave in 1849 following a disagreement with the President of the Audiencia. A number of the books appear to have been acquired from the personal collection of Pedro Aparicio, who is identified as Oficial de la Secretaria de Estado y del Despacho de la Universidad de Indias. The abundance of Reales Cédulas reflects the massive programme of reforms undertaken by Carlos III in response to nascent independence movements. They also illuminate the conflict between church and crown over matters of jurisdiction. These Cédulas were never printed in sufficient numbers for the administrators who required them, so many are instead present in manuscript copies. The collections of Papeles Varios contain ephemeral items of historical value which otherwise would have been lost. This important collection of 73 large format antiquarian volumes, presented as 50 lots, has been passed down through the family to the present owners.
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Amongst the many remarkable results in our 30th July Antique sale, which featured the collection of the antiques and militaria collector Jack Webb (1923-2019), was the extraordinary £101,000 paid for the rare terracotta portrait bust of Jamaican–British Crimean nurse Mary Seacole (1805-1881), one of only two or three known examples of this work, modelled by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Count Gleichen (1833-1891). This highly significant artefact of black cultural history was purchased by the film producer Billy Peterson, of Racing Green Pictures, whose film biopic of Mary Seacole is in production.
The current sale will include further items from the collection of Jack Webb, including ancient Egyptian artefacts, Grand Tour sculptures and objects, a 19th Century Tibetan coconut shell casket in the form of a monster, a Meiji period (1868-1912) Japanese okimono, an American scrimshaw powder horn finely engraved with maps and rivers, circa 1750, as well as further antique textiles from a private collection.
Also included in this sale is a major private collection of motoring antiques and memorabilia, including Pratt's enamel signs, car mascots and advertising posters from the early 20th Century.
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Continuing our recent series of highly successful Fine Art auctions focusing on Old Master drawings, 19th century paintings and watercolours as well as 20th century works, our next sale will offer another varied range of fine and desirable artworks on the 9th October. This will include an important 16th century version of the famous portrait of Erasmus by Holbein (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and dated to circa 1532). The oil on wood panel offered here comes from the famous North family of Wroxton Abbey, near Banbury in Oxfordshire, which was last on the market in 1933. Old Master prints will once again form an important part of the sale, with examples by Durer, Rembrandt, Goltzius, Leyden, Mola, Ribera, Laurie (The Tigress, after Stubbs 1800), Kolbe, Tissot and many others.
Amongst the 20th century works will be drawings and watercolours by Augustus John, Kyffin Williams, a portrait of the artist Frances Dodd by Randolph Schwabe, an attractive art deco oil coastal scene by John Littlejohns and an oil portrait of a Maori of circa 1900.
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The autumn military and aviation sale will feature a further selection from the astonishing military library of Lt. Col. R.J. 'Bob' Wyatt MBE TD, largely relating to wars and campaigns of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The sale centerpiece looks set to be a collection of artefacts from the family of Sir Barnes Neville Wallis CBE FRS RDI FRAeS (1887-1979), including a small and important collection of Dambusters and other material belonging to the great English scientist, engineer and inventor.
Notable highlights include two oil paintings of airships by Alfred Egerton Cooper (1883-1974). Both relate to the surrendering of the German navy in 1918 and feature the airborne airships NS7 and R26, the latter of which Barnes Wallis co-designed for Vickers with H.B. Pratt (£2,000-3,000 each). Barnes Wallis worked for Vickers from 1913 and was involved in airship design up until the R100, a project that was grounded after the fatal crash of the R101 in France in October 1930.
Barnes Wallis's fame lies most famously with his invention of the bouncing bombs used in Operation Chastise (the "Dambusters" raid), led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. On offer will be a menu signed by Guy Gibson for Barnes Wallis at a celebratory dinner the two had at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey, on 23rd June 1943 (£1,000-1,500). Their shared dinner of cold lobster, grilled chicken and mushrooms, took place the night after the Dambusters dinner celebration organised by A.V. Roe & Co. at the Hungaria Restaurant, Regents Street, London.
The Dam Busters raid was made world-famous by the eponymous best-selling book by Paul Brickhill (1951) and film based on the book (1955). The sale includes a copy of a first edition of Paul Brickhill's book with signed presentation inscription to Barnes Wallis, 'Without whom there would have been no squadron and no book' (£700-1,000); and a photograph of Barnes Wallis standing next to the actor Michael Redgrave in the role of Barnes Wallis for the film, signed by Michael Redgrave (£300-500).
Other highlights are a Barnes Wallis model for testing angles of wings for 'swing wing' aircraft, c. 1960 (£700-1,000); a manuscript calculus, trigonometry and physics course written for his young wife-to-be Molly Bloxam, 1922-24 (£2,000-3,000) and a sensational, emotionally super-charged letter of congratulations written to Barnes Wallis by his 16-year-old schoolgirl daughter Mary on hearing the news of the success of the Dambusters raid and fondly remembering her father's experiments with marbles in their garden which led to the bouncing bomb design:
'Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!!! Wonderful marbles. Up the marbles … As a matter of fact as soon as I read in the paper about the bombing of the dams in Germany I guessed that the kitchen bath tub and that wonderful erection of the garden table and kitchen chairs, and the complicated string-moving-up-and-down business, and the cold, cold water spilt in vain efforts to fill the tub, and the wild shrieks from Lis when the marbles lost themselves in the onion bed, and the impossible task of trying to see whether a minute marble bounced under or over a wobbley piece of string, were not in vain. Really, I have quite a maternal feeling for the little dears after all that…' (£700-1,000).
The sale also includes the usual array of aviation and military artefacts, medals and memorabilia with further entries invited.
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Following the highly memorable Asia and John Thomson themed photography sale in October 2019, plans for the autumn 2020 photography sale are fast taking shape. Continuing the Far Eastern theme the sale includes an album of photographs of Ootacamund and the Nilgiri Hills by A.T.W. Penn, c. 1875-1905 (£300-500), an album of platinum print photographs of India by talented amateur Victor Pont (£1,000-1,500), a rare copy of C.J. Kleingrothe's Malay Peninsula, 1907 (£2,000-3,000), albums relating to Tientsin, southwest China and Indochina, Japan and China, and an Asian voyage to include China and Hong Kong (various dates and estimates); plus four lots of photographs of Nepalese royalty and nobility including an unusual finely hand-coloured official coronation photograph of Maharaja Dev Shamsher, of Nepal, in 1901 (£1,000-1,500).
Major name photographers include Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron with four photographs from an unidentified album, 1864-66, comprising two portraits of Julia Jackson, one of Mary Hillier with the young Keown sisters and one of Connor of the Royal Artillery (£15,000-20,000). Also being researched are two Pre-Raphaelite portraits of female sitters by Frederick Hollyer, a fine Oscar Rejlander album and a newly discovered hand-coloured ambrotype of a seated young woman, tentatively attributed to be the sitter Julia Margaret Cameron herself.
Fashion makes an appearance again with a 3-volume work, Les Actualités de L’Elégance, c.1914-25 (£4,000-6,000) with over 700 original photographs of European ladies' fashions of the day. Jumping forward in time there will be a second selection of fashion contact prints by legendary LIFE photographer Martin Munkacsi, large format theatrical portraits by Angus McBean and a Robert Self limited edition Man Ray double exposure photograph of Kiki de Montparnasse titled Demain (£1,500-2,000).
The 1960s feature in a never-before-seen collection of negatives of the Beatles taken in April 1964 during the filming of their first feature film A Hard Day's Night. Just back from their first American tour, the film was a rushed project to capture the Beatlemania fad before their 'five-minute' fame passed! Largely taken at Marylebone Station and in the Garrison Room and gardens at Les Ambassadeurs club, London, the photographs also feature shots with co-star Wilfrid 'Steptoe' Brambell, schoolgirl Pattie Boyd (to become the wife of George Harrison) and inspired director Richard Lester. The collection, split into twelve lots carries a total estimate of £10,000-15,000 and the medium format and 35mm negatives come with full copyright.
The sale will also include a private collection of cartes-de-visite albums sold as multiple lots, a very rare book on the Lancashire cotton industry in Italian, Scarti di Cotone, 1920, with fourteen tipped-in photogravures by Alvin Langdon Coburn (£500-800), assorted albums and folders, individual prints, military cased images, cameras and accessories.
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