October book sale highlights include Isaac Newton's The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 2 volumes, 1st edition, London: Benjamin Motte, 1729 (£15,000-20,000). The first edition of the Principia in English, this is generally considered the greatest work in the history of science. The first edition was published in Latin in 1687, followed by another in 1713, and it was this English translation by Andrew Motte, (brother of the book's printer), that then disseminated the scientific ideas described to the English-speaking world. A contemporary ownership signature of William Mayhew is attributed to an attorney (1706-1764) from Colchester, Essex.
Among the significant manuscripts offered is 'Manuscript no. 3' of John Wallis DD, Professor of Geometry at Oxford. Estimated at £20,000-£30,0000, the 221-page work in Wallis's hand is titled A Collection of Letters and Other Papers, Intercepted in Cipher, during the Late Warres in England. Being a Transcript of a Like Collection Presented by him to the Bodleyan Library, in the University of Oxford, in the yeare 1653. Wallis was the most influential English mathematician before Isaac Newton and it was through studying him that Newton came to discover his version of the binomial theorem. Wallis began deciphering secret codes for Oliver Cromwell's intelligence service during the English Civil Wars in 1642, and later in 1701 was appointed England's first official decipherer.
Travel highlights include a copy of Cologne law professor Stephan Broelmann's Epideigma…, 2 parts in 1 volume, 1st edition, Cologne: Gerard Grevenbruch for the Author, 1608 (£5000-8000). A very rare work with 12 plates including the Middle East with Cyprus among the 5 double-page maps, this copy is notable for having contemporary hand-colouring, an added contemporary manuscript index, and for bearing a presentation inscription for Scipione Borghese (1577-1633), the notable Italian cardinal, art collector and patron of the arts.
With extraordinary paper-saving self-discipline the English missionary and author William Ellis recorded his research notes for his most important work, Polynesian Researches, c.1830, in a super-minuscule script. The archive on offer comprises approximately 80 quarto pages with up to an estimated 6000 words on each page and is estimated at £2000-3000. Other travel works include Vivant Denon, Description de l’Egypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont ete faites en Egypte pendant l’expedition de l’Armee Francaise, Antiquite, volumes 3 & 4 (of 5) only , 2nd edition, Paris: Pancoucke, 1822, contemporary red half morocco, large folio (£1000-1500).
For more information please contact Chris Albury
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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. 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).
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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